University World News Global Edition
08 June 2014 Issue 0323 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
RHEDI – Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation

In a Special Report, Sharon Dell and Munyaradzi Makoni cover the launch of the Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation – RHEDI – project, a global research and training initiative aimed at connecting and strengthening these key sectors in developing countries in Africa and Asia.
In Commentary, Eva Egron-Polak analyses the latest global survey by the International Association of Universities, and finds that while there is consensus on the importance of internationalisation and the need for academic values to be at the centre of it, there is significant regional divergence on other matters.
Douglas Viehland argues that more needs to be done to tackle the ‘credit leakage’ that is preventing many community college students in America from transferring to four-year institutions. Paul Dowland maintains that student analytics can help to engage and support students – but with privacy a hot topic, institutions must be sensitive.
And in World Blog, Sue Norton writes about the growing popularity of applied grammar courses and her efforts to convert students to the good writing cause.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Karen MacGregor

Despite paying considerable lip service to hot higher education issues such as access, retention and employability, most European countries are failing to set clear and precise targets or monitor progress in these areas, and their approaches and levels of engagement differ considerably, according to a report published by the European Commission last week.
Yojana Sharma

The long arm of Thailand’s military regime is attempting to extend its reach, with pressure being exerted on Thai students and scholars overseas.
Jan Petter Myklebust

After months of planning and negotiating, Jet Bussemaker, minister for education, culture and science in The Netherlands, has struck an agreement with two opposition parties on a bill that will convert student grants into loans from 1 January 2015. The move will free up €1 billion (US$1.4 billion) from the state higher education budget.
Ameen Amjad Khan

Pakistan’s federal government has increased the budget for higher education, allocating Rs20 billion (US$200 million) compared to last year’s Rs18.5 billion – a rise of 8.11%. The increase matches inflation, but has been welcomed after years of financial crisis and as a sign of good intent on the part of the new government.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Sweden’s government is to invest SEK1.6 billion (US$240 million) over the next 10 years in the city of Södertälje, in research and training in medicine and engineering, said Education Minister Jan Björklund last Monday. The next day the Wallenberg Foundation outlined plans to invest a whopping SEK1.7 billion so “Swedish medical research can regain its world leading position”.
Makki Marseilles

The ‘election’ – or more appropriately the appointment – of a new rector at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is once again creating tension between the institution’s management council and its academic community.

Malawi’s new president and former higher education minister, Peter Mutharika, has laid out his plans for tertiary education including the construction of five new universities, just a week after his election to the top job.
Munyaradzi Makoni

Four partners have signed an agreement to collaborate in setting up a new research centre in the Mozambican capital Maputo. The African Research Centre for Health and Environmental Sciences – to be hosted by Eduardo Mondlane University with the University of Glasgow, Planet Earth Institute and the Mozambique Ministry of Education – is scheduled to open in 2016.
The Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation – RHEDI – project kicked off from 18-23 May in Durban, South Africa, a global initiative aimed at strengthening research, policy and practice in these key sectors in developing countries. RHEDI is the latest iteration of a more than decade-long global research initiative that began in UNESCO, moved to the OECD and is now at the SANTRUST educational non-profit in South Africa. Academic partners include the universities of Melbourne in Australia and Lund in Sweden. University World News is the media partner.
Sharon Dell

Is ‘research management’ an oxymoron? – A concept that pits researchers against administrators and threatens to kill the goose that lays the golden egg? Or is it a realistic response to a world in which national wealth is based on knowledge production and the ability to effectively participate in global market networks?
Sharon Dell

Although recognised as the basis for a knowledge economy, research is an expensive undertaking, often with uncertain outcomes. Thus its management is a growing area of focus for policy-makers around the world who are faced, inter alia, with two key issues: how to set priorities for the research agenda in the context of finite resources and competing demands; and how to evaluate the impact of that research.
Sharon Dell

Rather than mimicking ‘best practice’ of top-performing institutions, universities aspiring to the status of research institutions in low- and middle-income countries need to invest more heavily in understanding their own institutional profiles and develop a vision of what it means to be a research university in their national context.
Sharon Dell

The notion that the innovation capabilities of developing economies can ‘leap-frog’ and catch up with developed countries without an investment in basic research is an unfortunate but persistent view, which is likely to prolong dependency on external agencies, according to Venni V Krishna, professor of science policy at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
Munyaradzi Makoni

Universities generate and transmit new knowledge. The first group of participants in an executive leadership training programme offered by experts from Australia were told that to do this well, top level research leadership skills and management are required.
Munyaradzi Makoni

New forces such as economic globalisation and information and communication technologies are shaping universities and research institutions and corresponding operational governance is required, says Professor Leo Goedegebuure, director of the LH Martin Institute at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
Sharon Dell

Professor Molly Lee’s impressive academic and professional résumé belies a refreshingly down-to-earth approach to issues of higher education. “I feel strongly about two things,” she told me over a quick working lunch between expert roundtable sessions in Durban. “One is the importance of underlying values in education; the other is the importance of indigenous knowledge systems.”
Munyaradzi Makoni

Mass participation in higher education has changed how research management is delivered around the world – and leadership approaches have also transformed in order to match more diverse universities and their challenges.
Karin Fischer, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Like many American colleges, the University of West Florida has seen marked growth in recent years in international student enrolment. But it was a different trend that alarmed Rachel Errington, director of the office of international students. The number of foreign students leaving without earning a degree was also on the rise. In 2008, West Florida’s retention rate for international students was 95%. Three years later, it was 83%.
Sue Norton

English grammar programmes are increasingly popular around the world, but students are not interested unless they can see a practical application.
Eva Egron-Polak

The International Association of Universities’ latest global survey on internationalisation trends shows there is consensus on the importance of internationalisation and that academic values should be at the centre – but other results diverge significantly across regions.
Douglas Viehland

Community college students in the United States are finding that the credits they earn are not transferring to four-year institutions. More needs to be done to ensure college credits are recognised.
Paul Dowland

Student analytics is defined as the “measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for the purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs”, according to Professor George Siemens of Athabasca University in Canada. But should universities be collecting data about students and using it as the basis to make decisions?
Janet Beer and Simonetta Manfredi, The Conversation

Women now form 56.5% of the student body, make up 53.8% of the whole workforce and occupy 45% of academic jobs in higher education in the United Kingdom. But their representation declines dramatically at senior management levels, where only 27.5% of managers are women. In vice-chancellor and principal roles, this is even lower: only 17% are women, or 29 out of 166 in 2013-14.

A team of German researchers has mapped more than 18,000 human proteins or 92% of the entire proteome. Their work has also delivered fascinating insights into the interplay of DNA, RNA and proteins as the main molecular players of life.

Australia can no longer lay claim to the origins of the iconic New Zealand bird, the kiwi, after researchers discovered that the kiwi’s closest relative was not the emu as previously thought. Instead, the diminutive bird is most closely related to an extinct Madagascan elephant bird, a two- to three-metre tall, 275 kilogram giant. Surprisingly, the researchers concluded that both these flightless birds once flew.

Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot – a swirling anti-cyclonic storm larger than Earth – has shrunk to its smallest size ever measured. The Great Red Spot has been raging for at least 400 years, from when astronomers were first able to build telescopes large enough to see it, but how it formed and why it has lasted this long is still a mystery.
Roberto Soria

A black hole with extremely powerful jets has been found in the nearby galaxy Messier 83 by a team of eight American, Dutch and Australian researchers. Dubbed MQ1, this is a small black hole probably formed from a stellar collapse – small yet powerful. Its discovery is just one of the results of a comprehensive study of the face-on spiral galaxy M83.
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Universities in some provinces in China are failing to meet student recruitment targets, a survey has found. At least seven provinces and one region did not meet their recruitment goals in 2013, according to the College Enrolment Report released last Wednesday by, one of the country's largest education portals, writes Zhao Xinying for China Daily.

Haruko Obokata, the scientist accused of fabricating her research into a new type of stem cell, has agreed to withdraw her groundbreaking article published in the British science journal Nature in January that brought worldwide acclaim, reports The Asahi Shimbun.

A new report from Amnesty International documents the crackdown on Iranian students and scholars that came in the wake of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election in 2005, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.

Fez may be better known as Morocco's historic centre of Islamic learning, but the modern-day university is a rare bastion of radical leftist students, where tensions are simmering after bloody clashes with Islamists, writes Omar Brousky for Middle East Online.

Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani is turning her attention to transforming the University Grants Commission into a bona fide higher education regulator that is in tune with the sector’s changing landscape, writes Urmi A Goswami for The Economic Times.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, delivering a recent commencement speech at Harvard University, criticised what he described as a disturbing trend of liberals silencing voices "deemed politically objectionable", writes Ray Sanchez for CNN.

Australia’s federal government faces blanket opposition from university vice-chancellors to its plan to increase the interest rate on all student debts and slash university funding, a survey shows, write Matthew Knott and Fergus Hunter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

If the ambition of every species is to perpetuate itself, then the academy is endangered, writes Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.

In theory, America’s state college system is one of the most egalitarian and progressive-minded institutions in America, writes Elias Isquith for Salon. Unfortunately, that’s not so much the case for many of today’s state schools, at least not according to a new study from the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies.

Students are facing mounting competition for university places after applications surged by more than 20,000 in just 12 months, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph. Figures show that around 634,600 people applied for degree courses by the end of May – an increase of 4% in a year and the second highest number on record.

Responses from 120 universities across the United Kingdom revealed that total academic appeals and complaints were 10% higher in 2012-13 than in 2010-11, writes Fran Abrams for the BBC. Universities Minister David Willetts welcomed the finding. He said it showed that students were demanding more for the £9,000 a year (US$15,000) fee.

The inspection system for the quality of higher education costs too much time and does not improve education, according to research carried out by Leiden University, reports Dutch News.

A new international effort to gauge the performance of universities went online last month promising to be a nuanced tool for students and institutions in the contentious field of global rankings, writes Aisha Labi for The Chronicle of Higher Education. But while its approach has received praise, some experts say it still has a way to go before achieving its goals, and some higher education groups have already raised questions about its methods.

Uganda has accepted a proposal by the South Sudan government to allow its students to pay similar tuition fees to Ugandans in public universities. The new proposal, Uganda's minister for higher education said, was part of a memorandum of understanding, yet to be finalised by the two countries, reports the Sunday Tribune.

Talks between the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government and India’s Manipal University to establish South Africa’s first private medical school are at an advanced stage. Construction on the site of the new university is expected to start later this year in Newcastle, in the northern part of the province, writes Nce Mkhize for BDLive.

The Meghalaya High Court last week granted bail to Chandra Mohan Jha who was arrested after his CMJ University was found selling fake PhD degrees to thousands of students all over the country, reports the Press Trust of India.
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