University World News Global Edition
21 September 2014 Issue 0335 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Sincere apologies to readers who received the wrong edition of University World News. This is the correct edition.
Disruptions – Middle East rankings and wars, fee deregulation and MOOCs

In World Blog, Daniel Kratochvil and Grace Karram describe a slew of upcoming Middle East and North Africa university rankings that they fear could lead to homogenisation of higher education and divisions between institutions and countries.
Rebecca Warden explores the issue of incentives and rewards for academics who step outside the ivory tower to engage with the community, ahead of an upcoming Talloires Network conference.
In Commentary, Vin Massaro contends that Australia, buffeted by political hot air over the deregulation of tuition fees, may need an independent coordinating body to negotiate between government and universities to ensure a working system.
Marguerite Dennis maintains that education technology will lead to the rise of global universities – but no country will dominate the student market as there will no longer be a ‘typical’ mobile student. Adam Habib and Christine Woods argue that to harness the potential of online education and MOOCs, universities must avoid both cynicism and evangelism and move towards collaborative education worldwide.
Simon Marginson and Ly Tran pull out the main points from a book they have co-authored with others on higher education in Vietnam, which calls for more flexible students and a focus on employability and knowledge for development. Daniela Z Kaisth and James R King outline a new pilot initiative aimed at helping Syrian refugee students to study at universities in Jordan.
In Features, Yojana Sharma looks at China’s efforts to encourage Beijing universities to move or set up campuses out of the city as part of plans to create a huge economic development area. Nic Mitchell reports on ETH Zürich’s idea of creating a ‘future cities laboratory’ in Africa following the success of the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Mimi Leung

Hong Kong’s universities and colleges – almost 20 of them – are gearing up for a student organised pro-democracy boycott of classes due to begin on 22 September and to last at least a week, with academics supporting the student movement.
Suluck Lamubol

Amid a series of attempts by the Thai military junta to control public gatherings, a number of academics and student activists were detained on 18 September for holding a public forum on democracy. The military said afterwards that the forum “could affect the government’s attempts to fix national problems” and might create “rifts in society".
Peta Lee

If the University Innovation Alliance achieves its goals, high quality degrees will become more accessible for all students, particularly first-generation and low-income students. Thousands more will graduate each year, and additionally they could shave time off their studies, taxpayers could save US$100 million in educational costs, and over the next five years another 850,000 students could graduate from America’s colleges.
Karen MacGregor

On the tenth anniversary of its rankings, British universities notched up their “best-ever performance” in the British company QS Quacquarelli Symonds’ global rankings. And graduates of two British universities were rated the most employable in the world.
Jan Petter Myklebust

A government-commissioned study of the placement of Norwegian universities in global rankings – in particular compared to other Nordic institutions – has concluded that even the top rankings are so based on subjective weightings of factors and on dubious data that they are useless as a basis for information if the goal is to improve higher education.
Wagdy Sawahel

Tunisia has officially unveiled an economic development mega-project that will house research and science, university and medical ‘cities’ and will include a range of research centres, science institutes and branches of foreign universities.
Mushfique Wadud

Private universities are trying to shore up their credibility with publicity campaigns and newspaper advertisements, following a warning from Bangladesh’s higher education apex body the University Grants Commission naming and shaming a dozen private institutions. There are 79 private universities in the country with more than 512,000 students enrolled.
Maina Waruru

A private university in Kenya is facing an auction of some of its prime property by banks and several other institutions are in financial trouble, in what some fear is a signal that the rapid expansion of higher education in the country has reached a sustainability limit.
Michael Gardner

According to the OECD, Germany is still lagging behind other member countries in academics statistics. Furthermore, the majority of students still tend to come from an academic family background. But the Paris-based organisation is full of praise for the country’s vocational education system.
Tunde Fatunde

The deaths in Nigeria of two medical doctors associated with teaching hospitals, both victims of the dreaded Ebola virus in the horrifying outbreak of the disease in West Africa, has created panic and unsettled nerves on campuses.
Esther Nakkazi

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, once a student of the arts but now a champion of science, has advised universities funded by the government to develop more science courses and to drop many in the arts and humanities.
Ashraf Khaled

The decision by Egyptian authorities to postpone the start of the new academic year by two weeks has drawn sustained criticism from lecturers and students. Minister of Higher Education Sayed Abdel Khaleq said universities would open their gates on 11 October instead of 27 September as scheduled.
Rebecca Warden

The number of academics who step outside the ivory tower to engage with the community is growing and universities are using a variety of ways to compensate them for doing so. But institutions that recognise and reward this effort are still very much a minority and the reasons why they find it hard to do are complex.
Yojana Sharma

Some of China’s most eminent universities including Peking and Tsinghua are clustered around the Zhongguancun area in Beijing’s Haidian district, which likes to style itself as China’s ‘Silicon Valley’, attracting research institutions and thousands of high-tech enterprises.
Nic Mitchell

Continental Europe’s leading research-intensive university ETH Zürich is exploring the idea of establishing a ‘future cities laboratory’ in Africa following the success of the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability.
Marc Parry, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Books are the gold standard of historical scholarship. Claudio Saunt, an expert in early American history, has published three of them. As a sort of epilogue to his latest book, however, the University of Georgia professor decided to try a different approach: what would happen if he distilled more than a century of American Indian history into an interactive digital map?
Daniel Kratochvil and Grace Karram

International rankings are coming to the Middle East, but could they lead to homogenisation and division between institutions and countries? It would be better if the rankings measured a broader range of criteria than research output, including regional collaboration.
Vin Massaro

The debate over university fees has been dominated by political rhetoric that does not recognise the need for universities to have greater autonomy over their missions so they can play to their strengths. It may be time for an independent coordinating body that can negotiate and manage contracts between the federal government and the universities to ensure Australia has a working world-class system.
Marguerite Dennis

Technology will not only determine the educational delivery methods of the future, but will lead to the rise of global universities, with no one country dominating the international student market because there will be no ‘typical’ mobile student.
Adam Habib and Christine Woods

Online education programmes, and massive open online courses – MOOCs – in particular, may be considered disruptive technological developments with the potential to be useful in addressing the challenges of higher education in the 21st century. But this will only be realised if we avoid the twin evils of cynicism and evangelism and move towards collaborative education between universities in different parts of the world.
Daniela Z Kaisth and James R King

A new pilot programme aimed at helping Syrian refugee students to study at nearby universities in Jordan could be scaled up across the region with support from universities, governments and NGOs.
Simon Marginson and Ly Tran

A new book examines all aspects of Vietnam’s higher education system and calls for the development of flexible students who are capable of being socially, regionally and transnationally mobile, and a focus on employability and knowledge for the purposes of community development.
Sukaina Walji

The Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South – ROER4D – project is a three-year multi-country and institutional research project whose objective is to improve educational policy, practice and research in developing countries by better understanding the use and impact of open educational resources in the global South.
University World News has a popular Facebook group. If you are not a member, do consider joining to see our regular updates, post on our wall and communicate with us and other University World News fans. You can also follow University World News on Twitter @uniworldnews

Oxford’s Bodleian Library received its first Chinese book in 1604, though it was 80 years before anyone arrived who could read it. Now many of the Bodleian’s China books have a new home – in the library of the new £21 million (US$34 million) University of Oxford China Centre at St Hugh’s College, which opened on 8 September. The new building, largely paid for by Hong Kong tycoon Dickson Poon, is part of a much-needed revival, reports The Economist.

Prominent ethnic Uighur economics professor from Beijing, Ilham Tohti, went on trial last Wednesday in the far western region of Xinjiang on charges of separatism. A conviction for separatism can result in the death penalty, but in this case life imprisonment is likely to be the maximum punishment because of the specific charges, writes Edward Wong for The New York Times.

Responding to an academia-wide furore about the ‘firing’ of Steven Salaita over a series of provocative tweets on Israel and Gaza, the University of Illinois board of trustees recently voted eight to one to uphold the decision. This can be seen as a blow to the very concept of academic freedom, but there's another sinister undercurrent to the case: evidence that major donors put pressure on the board and the university administration to dump the professor, writes Michael Hiltzik for the Los Angeles Times.

India is rethinking its commitment to recognise the one-year masters degrees awarded in Britain because British universities do not universally accept Indian Class XII certificates, writes Basant Kumar Mohanty for The Telegraph India.

In a bid to create uniformity among central universities, India’s Human Resource Development Ministry has decided to frame guidelines for common admission, common curricula, student and faculty mobility and a national system of credit transfers. It has also been decided to develop a national ranking system of central universities, reports TNN.

The gross enrolment ratio for higher education rose to 16% in India last year, as compared to 11% in 2008. The ratio is expected to increase to 21% by 2021, according to research by Frost & Sullivan, reports The Hindu.

A key group representing Myanmar’s teachers said last week it had joined students in opposing a proposed law aimed at revamping the country's education system, saying strong government controls under the draft law contradicted reforms that have been implemented by President Thein Sein’s administration, reports Radio Free Asia.

Spending on higher education construction in New York City will top US$2 billion this year and will continue near that level for the next three years, according to a survey by a building industry trade group, write Mike Vilensky and Laura Kusisto for The Wall Street Journal.

Analysis by Times Higher Education magazine, ahead of its 2014 world university rankings, suggests that money is key to being a top university, writes Judith Burns for BBC News.

There is “a tremendous atmosphere of gagging and silencing” in UK universities that prevents academics from speaking out when they feel that they have been treated unfairly. This is according to Marina Warner, until recently professor of literature, film and theatre studies at the University of Ess ex, writes Chris Parr for Times Higher Education.

Universities are tempting students with tuition-fee guarantees as the federal government moves to deregulate fees from 2016, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian.

Australia is the most expensive place for an international student to go to university – but it is not seen as the best place for a top quality education, writes Ashley Hall for ABC.

With two weeks left until the application deadline for universities, hundreds of thousands of prospective first-years must contend with the fact that they need to come up with a plan B because of limited space, writes Nontobeko Mtshali for The Star.

Grace Mugabe, wife of President Robert Mugabe who is also the chancellor of all state universities, was conferred earlier this month with a doctor of philosophy degree at the University of Zimbabwe – but insiders are querying the academic award, reports The Zimbabwean.
Subscribe / Unsubscribe / Sent to:
Terms and Conditions / ISSN 1756-297X / © University World News 2007-2014