University World News Global Edition
01 June 2014 Issue 0322 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Global education and the ‘American Dream’

Two aspects of the ‘American Dream’ have been sold abroad – the instrumentalist idea that education provides tools to achieve success (money) and a more liberal notion that stresses a broader view of the value of education, writes Jason Scorza in Commentary. Both are needed to give students a good chance in a competitive world.
Yegor Stadny worries that time is running out for much-needed higher education reform in Ukraine. The World Bank’s Makhtar Diop argues that Africa must make strategic investments in human capital if it is to achieve economic growth accompanied by poverty reduction and greater value addition.
Paul Kniest investigates the costs of degrees with deregulated higher education in Australia, and finds them exorbitant and discriminatory, and Roger Y Chao Jr argues that part of the core mission of universities should be developing global citizens and leaders with the skills to prevent conflict and maintain peace.
In World Blog, Grace Karram describes a twinning programme with Australia that is imparting confidence and leadership skills among Malaysian students while keeping them grounded in their own culture. In Features, Emilia Tan and Yojana Sharma report that high proportions of foreign academics are becoming a political issue in Singapore, amid disquiet over immigration.
Andrew Green describes the state of higher education in South Sudan after five months of fighting. Wachira Kigotho unpacks the African Union’s hard-hitting AU Outlook on Education Report 2014, which accuses governments of not making education a priority, and a related study that charts expansion and reversing of the gender gap in higher education in the Maghreb.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Suluck Lamubol

Dozens of academics in Thailand have been summoned, detained and threatened following the 22 May coup d’etat. As martial law was imposed nationwide two days before the country's 12th coup, the junta instructed universities to ‘cooperate’ with the military. Student activists have been summoned and warned against political activities, prompting many academics and students to flee the country or go into hiding.
Geoff Maslen

Plummeting polls and community outrage have forced cabinet ministers from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott down to try to placate their constituencies. Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has had to backtrack on his plan to reshape the higher education sector by unilaterally deregulating tuition fees, removing limits on what universities could charge students while at the same time cutting public funding of universities by 20%.
Alya Mishra

India will strive to increase public spending on education to 6% of gross domestic product from less than 4% currently, new Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani announced during her maiden press conference last week. Irani took charge after the National Democratic Alliance government came to power, sweeping the recent Lok Sabha polls.
Tunde Fatunde

The recent deaths of some Nigerian students in Ghana shattered the ‘Eldorado’ perceptions of Nigerian parents towards Ghanaian tertiary institutions. Subsequent critical assessment of Ghana’s institutions has highlighted their good, bad and the ugly sides – along with the extraordinary news that there are now some 75,000 Nigerians studying in Ghana.
Peta Lee

A Chilean university has good reason to celebrate, after taking the number one spot in the annual QS Latin America ranking for the first time. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile has overtaken Brazil’s Universidade de São Paulo.
David Jobbins

Academics from an Italian university have challenged university ranking organisations to integrate principles of sustainability into their league tables.
Beth McMurtrie, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Three years after Boston College began a lengthy battle to retain control over an oral history project on the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the college may find itself back in court again. The Police Service of Northern Ireland said on 22 May that they would seek the entire archive in which former members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and loyalist paramilitary groups talked about their activities during the decades-long civil conflict.
Wagdy Sawahel

A three-year higher education Tuning Middle East and North Africa – Tuning MEDA – initiative was launched last month in four fields including tourism, nursing, law and architecture. The project was unveiled at an event in Jordan and outlined by the Association of Arab Universities.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Despite European policy debates on how future scientists should be educated, there seems to be no dominant model for doctoral training, according to a study by Norbert Sabic and Achim Kemmerling of the Central European University in Budapest. Cooperation among higher education ministers might lead – “for better or worse” – to more convergence.
Wagdy Sawahel

In an effort to deliver world-class education to millions of Arab-speaking students and academic communities around the globe, the first not-for-profit Arab platform for MOOCs – Edraak – has been launched. The Arabic language is mother tongue to more than 350 million people in 22 Arab countries.
Jan Petter Myklebust

As of Monday, Sweden’s new university chancellor will be Professor Harriet Wallberg, Minister of Education Jan Björklund announced at a press conference last week. Her appointment is seen as part of a sectoral shuffle ahead of general elections on 1 August.
Gilbert Nganga

Kenya is set to boost its pool of desperately needed high-level health care professionals after the Ministry of Health approved seven public and private higher education institutions to train doctors. It is hoped that expanding medical training will stem a shortage that has been frustrating the country’s health care plans.
Jane Marshall

There were hopes for a return to calm a week after violent confrontations between police and students led to severe damage to property on the campus of Senegal’s top Université Cheikh Anta Diop. Students were continuing an indefinite strike, although 22 who had faced charges in court were released.

An enormous explosion was observed last Wednesday morning in our neighbouring galaxy, Andromeda, and is likely to have been the result of two neutron stars colliding. Known as a gamma ray burst, the explosion was one of the most powerful in the universe.
Emilia Tan and Yojana Sharma

Singapore has been rising in international university rankings, spurred by strong research and an international outlook. That comes down to a will to attract academics and students from overseas to its shores. But with growing disquiet over immigration, the swelling proportions of foreigners in the city-state – including academics – is becoming highly political.
Andrew Green

More than five months of fighting between the government and rebel forces in South Sudan has further devastated an already neglected higher education system. Two of the country’s five public universities fell in the path of some of the war’s heaviest clashes and have not reopened after the Christmas holiday. It is not known when – or if – classes will start again.
Wachira Kigotho

The African Union’s vision of a prosperous continent driven by a knowledge economy has been frustrated by many countries not making education a priority in development plans, according to the AU Outlook on Education Report 2014. The hard-hitting report says progress towards improving education access and quality at all levels has been too slow.
Wachira Kigotho

Countries that are members of the Arab Maghreb Union in North Africa have on average made greater strides in expanding tertiary education than their counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to an African Union regional report on education.
Grace Karram

A twinning programme between Malaysia and Australia is teaching Malaysian students leadership skills and confidence to navigate the professional world while keeping them grounded in their own culture.
Jason Scorza

Two different aspects of the ‘American Dream’ have been sold abroad – the idea that success is all about individuals getting to the top and making lots of money, and a more liberal notion which emphasises a broader view of the value of education. Both are needed to give students a good chance in a competitive world.
Yegor Stadny

The first root and branch reform of Ukrainian higher education is being pushed through parliament and the next few weeks are crucial. If the second reading does not go through, the reforms could be put on hold.
Makhtar Diop

Africa has achieved exceptional growth over the past decade, averaging 4.5% a year and underpinned by prudent macroeconomic management. Now we must achieve economic growth that is accompanied by poverty reduction and greater value addition. We must make strategic investments in human capital that will drive Africa’s economic transformation.
Paul Kniest

The changes to higher education regulation and funding announced as part of the 2014-15 federal budget represent the end of Australia’s public higher education system as we have known it since Labor’s Education Minister John Dawkins introduced the unified national system in 1989. The changes will also end a public system where students gained entry into a university based on academic merit.
Roger Y Chao Jr

Universities need to go back to basics. Part of their core mission should be the development of global citizens and leaders with the skills to prevent conflict and maintain peace.
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Pro-opposition university authorities and lecturers largely closed 18 of Venezuela’s 61 universities last week. The strike was part of a protest action that coincided with fresh incidents of street violence, including an attack on the youth wing of the United Soc ialist Party of Venezuela, writes Ewan Robertson for

Facing government funding cuts and sharp spending increases, some British universities are turning to a new source of money – the bond market – writes Patrick Blum for The New York Times.

For the past 32 years, Wake Forest University and American author and poet Maya Angelou have been inextricably tied together. Angelou, who died last Wednesday at the age of 86, had served as Reynolds Professor of American studies at Wake Forest since 1982, writes Michael Hewlett for Winston-Salem Journal.

Iraqi universities were known for their scholarly and technical prosperity in the 1960s and 1970s. Yet they lost this reputation in the 1980s due to Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, wars and the economic blockade, and there is nothing on the horizon suggesting a qualitative development to restore the scholarly status of universities, writes Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor.

The Higher Education Authority has told universities and institutes of technology in Ireland to set up procedures to protect whistleblowers as a matter of urgency, writes Joe Humphreys for The Irish Times.

Universities have united to condemn the New Zealand government's proposal to cut the number of seats on university councils, writes Laura Macdonald for 3News. The changes are part of the Education Amendment Bill, introduced in February, but students say the changes could push them out of decision-making.

The Chinese government will continue to provide scholarships to African students, a Chinese official has said. In an interview with African foreign correspondents in Beijing last week Cen Jianjun, director general of international cooperation and exchanges in the Ministry of Education, said multi-dimensional, multi-tier and inter-agency cooperation had been characterised by an ever-expanding student exchange programme, writes Paul Ntambara for The New Times.

Russia plans to produce an official international ranking of higher education institutions, including universities in Commonwealth of Independent States, BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation countries by June 2015, the government said last week, reports Ria Novosti.

Former government officials will be banned from high-ranking posts at private universities in South Korea. According to the Education Ministry, officials have agreed to revise the Public Service Ethics Act to include private universities among the institutions that cannot hire civil servants, reports The Korea Herald.

Almost two years ago one of my oldest friends, Bradley L Garrett, boarded a plane at Heathrow airport. As it taxied on the runway, the British Transport Police arrived and dragged him off the plane. He was accused of conspiracy to commit criminal damage, writes Adam Fish for The Conversation.

For the first time in Israel’s history there will be a decrease in students studying at higher education institutions, according to Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, head of the planning and budgeting committee of the Council for Higher Education, writes Lidar Gravé-Lazi for The Jerusalem Post.

The United States isn’t producing enough highly skilled graduates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics – STEM – fields to meet the country’s workforce needs. Such is the conventional wisdom in the halls of Congress and many corners of higher education. But what if it’s wrong? asks Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.

Thousands gathered at the University of California, Santa Barbara, last Tuesday to mourn six students killed in a weekend rampage as California lawmakers proposed new ways of keeping guns out of the hands of disturbed killers, reports CP24.

Canada’s University of Saskatchewan is re-evaluating a controversial restructuring plan that led to the firing of the dean of public health and the ouster of the president, write Allan Maki and Tu Thanh Ha for The Globe and Mail.

Canada’s largest school board has opened a Confucius Institute, bringing to Toronto students a controversial global language and cultural outreach effort that is controlled by the Chinese government, write Karen Howlett and Colin Freeze for The Globe and Mail.

A government report has revealed widespread fraud and bribery among high-level professors at universities in Mali, and degrees awarded in exchange for cash, reports the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Religious activists, students and colleagues gathered outside Jamaica’s biggest university last Monday to protest against the firing of an HIV expert who testified on behalf of church groups, reports Associated Press.
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