ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0037  20 July 2008
HE Events Diary

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Asia's research output is the focus of a Japanese plan aimed at increasing collaboration across 16 nations in the region, our correspondent reports.

A new, "Euro-Mediterranean University" has been launched in Slovenia. See the story in this week's News section.


NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Future of higher education research
Diane Spencer
Higher education around the world has expanded massively in recent decades so that its character and performance have significant implications for all members of society, not only economically but for social cohesion, equity, mobility and integration, says a new report by the European Science Foundation. The report says more needs to be known about how universities and other higher education institutions are changing in the 21st century. It says that expansion of the sector has implications locally, nationally and globally, as well as how it shapes the lives of individual citizens.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: First Mediterranean university launched
Keith Nuthall
A new Euro-Mediterranean University based in Slovenia has been launched with higher education courses that will focus on issues of importance to European, African and Levantine countries bordering the sea. Creation of the new institution was part of a joint declaration issued by heads of state and government from 43 countries at a Paris summit establishing a Mediterranean Union organisation.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: More super-campuses announced
Jane Marshall
Valérie Pécresse, Minister for Higher Education and Research, has announced the four remaining locations for Operation Campus – a plan aimed at making French universities internationally competitive through substantially increased funding for a selected few. While Paris was conspicuously absent among the first six projects chosen at the end of May, three of the four new campuses will be situated in the capital or the surrounding Ile-de-France region. But a decision has been postponed on which of two inner Paris proposals will go ahead.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Students look east
Clemence Manyukwe
Zimbabwean students are turning to Asian universities following Australia’s decision to deport eight youngsters whose fathers are accused of propping up the government of President Robert Mugabe – and more students might yet be deported. The United States has also said five students involved in “anti-democratic” activities would be deported, but has not said when or given their names. Unlike in the past, local papers are now awash with advertisements offering students places at Asian universities, mostly in Malaysia.
Full report on the University World News site

N IGERIA: Nearly 300,000 denied university places
Tunde Fatunde
More than a million N igerian youngsters wrote qualifying tests conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, hoping to clinch a university place. But universities can accept only 153,000 out of 448,000 successful candidates, meaning that 295,000 qualified would-be students will be denied admission to higher education when the 2008-09 academic year begins in October.
Full report on the University World News site

MOZAMBIQUE: New research institutions planned
Charles Mangwiro
Mozambique is planning to increase the number of scientific institutions as part of a strategic bid to enable better use of trained staff and to fight grinding poverty currently affecting half of its 20 million people. The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Heath have formalised a five-year memorandum of understanding aimed at promoting science and technology research.
Full report on the University World News site


ASIA: Increase in exchange of scientists
Subbiah Arunachalam
The Japanese government has drawn up a plan to promote exchanges of scientists and joint research among 16 Asian countries to boost the level of the region’s science and technology to that of the United States and Europe. The plan, proposed by Fumio Kishida, state minister in charge of science and technology policy, comes at a time when China and India are witnessing remarkable advances in both the economy and scientific research.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Internet speeds up to 100 times faster
It has taken four years to develop but now, thanks to a small scratch on a piece of glass, University of Sydney scientists say the internet is set to become up to 100 times faster than current networks. The scratch will mean almost instantaneous, error free and unlimited access to the internet anywhere in the world.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Room temperature superconductivity
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have for the first time identified a key component to unravelling the mystery of room temperature superconductivity, according to a paper published in the scientific journal Nature on 9 July. The quest for room temperature superconductivity has gripped physics researchers since they saw the possibility more than two decades ago.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: Green naming and shaming
The universities of Gloucester, Plymouth and the West of England topped a “Green League” table published by the student campaigning organisation People and Planet. The group noted a remarkable improvement in environmental management and performance as universities had increased their environmental staff by 25% but more action was needed, it said.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Leopoldina given National Academy status
Europe’s oldest academy for medicine and natural sciences, the Leopoldina, has become Germany’s first National Academy of Sciences. It was officially awarded this status, putting it on a par with Britain’s Royal Society or France’s Académie des Sciences, at a ceremony in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, on 14 July.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Russell Group contributes to economy
A survey by the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction organisation found the British Russell Group of research intensive universities generated £800 million from research in partnerships with business during 2006-07 – an increase of £100 million from the previous year.
Full report on the University World News site

ALGERIA: More universities, more freshers, fewer teachers
As Algeria completes a five-year university expansion plan, more than half the candidates who took the baccalauréat this summer passed the examination which entitles them to a place in higher education.
Full report on the University World News site


An article in our 1 June issue, US: America and the Bologna Club, referred to a report by Clifford Adelman of the US Institute of Higher Education Policy and gave an incorrect url for the institute. The report can be found at: A policy brief, Learning Accountability from Bologna, will be published by IHEP at the end of this month.


Gavin Moodie writes:
It was good to read Diane Spencer’s report, UK: Fears over privatisation (University World News, 13 July 2008). Very little attention has been given to the extensive relations that Australian and British public universities have with private for profit vocational and higher education providers. Yet these relations have developed remarkably strongly over the last two decades and seem to be expanding apace. Three questions occur to me.
Full letter on the University World News site


With the launch last week of our own Facebook group, University World News has entered the sphere of internet social marketing. Readers who would like to meet and communicate directly with academics and researchers who receive the first global higher education newspaper should join. Click on the link below or search the Facebook site for the group University World News to meet fellow UWN readers.
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AUSTRALIA: International quality assurance
David Woodhouse*
As universities around the world internationalise their curricula and their research links, or offer courses abroad or enrol foreign students, these activities should be subject to internal quality assurance. By the same token, external quality assurance agencies must be able to assess the nature and effect of these internal processes. This is the “QA of internationalisation”.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Raising education standards
Alan Osborn
The 27 EU member states will have to speed up their educational progress if they are to meet a range of self-imposed targets deemed necessary if the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs is to be successful by 2010. A report by the European Commission* acknowledges that progress has been made in five key areas (though not in low achievement in reading) and that long-term reform processes have been launched. “Although progress towards… targets is slow, it is mostly going in the right direction,” said Ján Figel, Commissioner for Education. “But much work still needs to be done,” he warned.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Exploring academic salaries globally
A small number of studies have attempted to compare faculty salaries internationally, but only a few have cast a wide geographic net and included countries of varied levels of national and economic development, write Iván Pacheco and Laura E Rumbley in the latest edition of International Higher Education. In 2007 the Boston College Center for International Higher Education launched an exploratory project attempting to do just that – collecting and comparing salary data (in World Bank PPP dollars) from 15 countries and one territory, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the UK, US and Palestine. The study found that overall average monthly salaries ranged from $1,182 in China to $6,038 in Canada. These findings produced an international average of $4,856 per month.
More on the University World News site


SENEGAL-FRANCE: Death of web pioneer
Obituary: Rose Dieng-Kuntz – 30 June 2008
Jane Marshall
Scientists in France, Senegal and around the world are mourning the death of Rose Dieng-Kuntz, spec ialist in artificial intelligence, prize-winner of the prestigious Irène Joliot-Curie award for women scientists and the first African woman to attend the elite French grande école Polytechnique.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: More pain at pumps, less pain in hospital
Monica Dobie
Researchers from the American University of Alabama at Birmingham have discovered a silver lining to sky-rocketing vehicle fuel prices – fewer deaths from car accidents. An analysis of yearly vehicle deaths compared to petrol prices found death rates drop significantly as people slow down and drive less.
Full report on the University World News site


US: 'Emergency' data request raises suspicion
Stymied in its efforts to alter federal laws and regulations to make it easier for students to transfer academic credits from one institution to another, the US Education Department plans an “emergency” survey of federal Pell Grant recipients that seems designed to build a case that changes are necessary, reports Inside Higher Ed. The request has agitated some higher education officials, who questioned both the premise and the purpose of the department’s information expedition.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Doors shut on top UK universities
Since it began market reforms in the early 1990s, India has rolled out the red carpet for many British corporations, reports The Independent. Vodafone, British Telecom and Rolls-Royce all have operations there, helping to push foreign direct investment to nearly £8 billion (US$16 billion) last year. But while Britain's phone companies, cars and expertise in higher education are welcomed, its universities are not.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities shun A-levels for admissions
At least 18 universities are setting their own admissions tests because they believe they can no longer rely on A-level results alone to gauge a candidate's ability, a report reveals today. Universities UK – the body representing vice-chancellors – estimates that one in seven of its 132 members has introduced such exams, reports The Independent. Its findings are a further blow to the credibility of A-levels, and have angered critics who claim the university entrance tests will help middle-class students whose parents can afford coaching for them.
More on the University World News site

UK: Hawking ‘mulling over’ Canadian invitation
Professor Stephen Hawking is “mulling over” an invitation to quit Britain because government policy is making the country the home of “dull science”, colleagues have said, reports The Telegraph. Last month the 66-year-old scientist accused the government of making “disastrous” £80 million (US$160 million) cuts to research funding.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Poor performance rewarded with grants
Top research universities are upset about being “penalised for over-performing” by a government subsidy system designed to help former polytechnics and historically black institutions to catch up on research capacity, reports the Mail & Guardian. Academics and officials at three of the country's leading universities say they are unhappy about the Education Department’s allocation this year of R174-million (US$23 million) in research development grants to several universities which did not meet their research targets in 2006.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: At least six more universities needed
Mergers between black and white universities in South Africa to transform higher education after apartheid have been “difficult and messy” and distracted attention from expanding student numbers, the country's vice-chancellors believe, reports Education Guardian. South Africa will need at least six more universities to raise participation in higher education from the current 15% and the sector was asking whether the mergers ordered by the government (known in some quarters as the “murders”) had been necessary, said Roy du Pré, vice-chancellor of Durban University of Technology and spokesman for Higher Education South Africa which represents the heads of the country's universities.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Income drive at expense of quality
Lack of adequate facilities is the greatest challenge facing the privately sponsored students programme, reports the Daily Nation. Often, universities admit more students than their limited facilities can cater for. “There is so much thirst for money among our public universities that they sometimes overlook issues of practicalities when admitting students,” acknowledged Professor Everett Standa, secretary of the Commission for Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

KUWAIT: Students banned from key universities
Kuwaiti students have allegedly been barred by their Education Ministry from attending three universities in Bahrain and others in Egypt, reports Gulf News. The Kuwaiti Education and High Education Minister Nouriya Al Subaih issued a decision to temporarily stop sending Kuwaiti students to certain universities and institutes in Bahrain and Egypt, according to Kuwait's Al Watan daily.
More on the University World News site

US: University apologises to KKK book-reading janitor
A janitor whom a university official accused of racial harassment for reading a historical book about the Ku Klux Klan on his break has received an apology, months later, from the school, reports Associated Press. Charles Bantz, chancellor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, apologised to Keith John Sampson in a letter, saying the school is committed to free expression. “I can candidly say that we regret this situation took place,” Bantz wrote.
More on the University World News site
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