Issue No:0004 04 November 2007
HE Events Diary

University World News is the first high quality, truly international newspaper dedicated to providing news, features and commentary on higher education issues around the globe. Our network of dozens of correspondents include many of the world's most experienced higher education journalists.

Saudi Arabia is planning its first co-educational university. See our news section.

Student apartments in Nilai – the proposed Malaysian site of a Japanese university. See this week's feature section. Photo: Kemboja Ismail.

NEWS: Our journalists worldwide report

CHINA: University students dominate world market
Geoff Maslen
Students from mainland China who go abroad to study far outnumber those from all other countries. Chinese students will continue to increase their domination of the international student market for decades to come.
Full report on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: Breaking down the desert gender divide
Tabitha Morgan
A new postgraduate research university in Saudi Arabia aims to take the kingdom’s tertiary education in a new direction – more in line with the government’s aim of reducing youth unemployment. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) also intends to promote greater intellectual freedom and to create a more liberal teaching environment.
Full report on the University World News site

Frank Rhodes, president emeritus of Cornell University who is on the KAUST international advisory panel, told Reuters he was optimistic about the university and had no concerns about academic freedom. “The king is solidly behind it.”
Full report on the Reuters site

UNITED STATES: Bridging the student memory gap
Arlene Cherwin
Here is a problem that confronts academics around the world: The movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade opened in 1989, US president Ronald Reagan was knighted by Queen Elizabeth, the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize, and protests raged in Tiananmen Square. But these events are all history to today’s first-year university students as most were not even born when they happened.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Tempus staff to be retrenched
Alan Osborn
Up to 10 European Commission staff members working on the Tempus programme, which promotes cooperation between higher education establishments within the EU and with 26 other countries, face the sack following a drastic reorganisation of the project.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Private colleges want stricter controls
Makki Marseilles
A federation representing private higher education providers has appealed to the Greek government to strengthen the legal framework controlling their operations.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Arts receives big boost
Michael Gardner
The federal government plans to boost Germany’s leading role in the arts with a new €28 million (US$40.5 million) programme for three international colleges.
Full report on the University World News site

SPECIAL REPORT: Graduate (un)employment

School students are often told that a university education will guarantee them a lifetime of well-paid jobs with good conditions and higher-than-average wages. That may be true for most but it is not always the case, as our correspondents explain:

SOUTH AFRICA: Graduate joblessness amid skills shortage
Karen MacGregor
Graduate unemployment in South Africa doubled in the first decade of democracy, despite a worsening skills shortage. But strong economic growth appears at last to be alleviating this paradoxical problem.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Graduates face poorly-paid internships
Jane Marshall
Anaïs graduated in the summer with a master’s degree in European studies. But, like many young people in France, she was unable to find a job related to her qualifications and accepted lowly-paid work as an intern.
Full report on the University World News site
More information on the Céreq site

CANADA: Over-qualified workers hold 20% of jobs
Philip Fine
One fifth of Canada’s workforce is over-qualified for the work they do. The figure rises to 30% for a bachelor’s degree and to more than 50% for a recent immigrant.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Grab a master’s and double your income
Ard Jongsma
American workers with a four-year degree earn almost two-thirds more than their contemporaries with only a high school diploma. Those with a master’s degree earn almost twice as much, while the incomes of those with professional degrees are more than three times greater, according to a study by the College Board.
Full report on the University World News site
Full study on the College Board site

UK: Top class degrees earn more jobs
Diane Spencer
It pays to study hard and get a better class of degree. Latest figures show that graduates obtaining lower seconds and thirds are around two-and-a-half times more likely to be unemployed six months after graduating than those with firsts.
Full report on the University World News site
More on the Higher Education Statistics Agency site

NEW ZEALAND: Degree holders better off than drop-outs
John Gerritsen
Income figures show that New Zealanders with bachelors or higher degrees earn almost twice as much as those with no qualifications and 60% more than school-leavers who passed their final examinations.
Full report on the University World News site

IRELAND: Graduates have never had it so good
John Walshe
Despite a steady increase in the number of Irish graduates, the jobless rate for the past five years has been around 3%.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Huge rise in graduates but jobs still there
Geoff Maslen
Since 1990, the number of Australians completing bachelor degrees has grown by almost 65% yet the percentage of new graduates in full-time employment has remained relatively steady. The booming Australian labour market has been able to absorb graduating students without a rise in joblessness.
Full report on the University World News site
More on the Graduate Careers Australia site


US: Universities confront transgender issues
Judith Ritter
More young Americans are publicly defining themselves as transgender. Their needs are being confronted by a number of US universities although, for the most part, they take the challenge as an opportunity to teach diversity.
Full report on University World News site

MALAYSIA: Troubled beginnings for technology university
Charles Jannuzi
A proposed Malaysia-Japan International University of Technology has been on the drawing board for years. But so far the project has eluded any realistic schedules for completion – or projections of cost.
Full report on University World News site


UK: A new chair for Britain’s Design Council
Diane Spencer
Sir Michael Bichard, former top civil servant and rector of the London Institute, the largest art and design institution in Europe, has been appointed chair of Britain’s Design Council.
Full report on University World News site


RUSSIA: Space Cockroaches
Nick Holdsworth
In a world-first experiment, students in Russia are investigating the effects of space travel on reproduction after sending cockroaches into orbit for 12 days aboard a Foton-M capsule. After their return one, Nadezhda, gave birth to 33 babies. Cockroaches are ideal subjects because their embryos develop rapidly, said Dmitri Atyakshin, the PhD space biology student in charge of the experiment.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Thinking creatively
Arthur KC Li
Academics complain that their students are too conventional and not creative enough in their thinking. But what happens when one breaks out of the mould and is too creative for his own good?
Full report on the University World News site

US: “Don’t Tase me, bro!” takes internet by storm
The University of Florida student stunned by a police Taser and arrested after a videotaped outburst at an event with Senator John Kerry will not go to court if he stays out of trouble during 18 months of probation, prosecutors told Associated Press. Film clips of Andrew Meyer's shout of “Don't Tase me, bro!” and subsequent arrest became an internet sensation.
Full report on the Associated Press site


EUROPE: New report on international student mobility
The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education has published a report titled “International student mobility: Patterns and trends”. Among other things it provides an overview of student mobility patterns, and analyses recruitment strategies that institutions and governments are developing to grow student markets as well as motivational factors for students such as job and residency opportunities, the quality of the ‘student experience’ and university costs.
Full report on the European University Association site

SWITZERLAND: NORRAG scrutinises ‘best practice’
“It is bad practice to present good practice as best practice,” writes an author of the current issue of Norrag News, the gilded soap-box of the Network for Policy Research Review and Advice on Education and Training. The issue is called “Best practice in education and training: hype or hope?” In it, 37 experts from around the world take a critical look at the liberal use of ‘best practice’ in international development activities related to education and training.
Full report on the Norrag site

US: Minorities badly under-represented, study finds
A survey of the top 100 departments in 15 disciplines has revealed that few have more than a single faculty member from an under-represented minority group, reports Insider Higher Ed. Dr Donna J Nelson, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Oklahoma, found that despite increased representation of minority groups among bachelor’s and PhD degree recipients, the proportion of black, Hispanic and Native American instructors generally drops at every point in the academic pipeline.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site

Donna J Nelson’s study is available on the University of Oklahoma website. It is titled: “A national analysis of minorities in science and engineering faculties at research universities”.
Full study on the Oklahoma site


JAPAN: Scramble to hire graduates bad for all
Concern about negative impacts on students and universities of the ever-earlier and more vigorous campus drives by companies to recruit Japan’s best undergraduates, has prompted the Japan Business Federation to publish an ‘Ethics Charter’, reports the Daily Yomiuri. The document calls on firms to, among other things, respect university schedules and not to conduct job screening activities involving students not yet in their final year.
Full report on the Daily Yomiuri site

JAPAN: Campuses provide opportunities for refugees
Many foreign students at universities in Japan worked hard to get there, but it has been a particularly tough road for a Myanmar man at Kwansei Gakuin University, reports the Daily Yomiuri. In April, Myo Myint Swe became one of the first two refugees admitted to the university through its agreement with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, under a programme that is sparking interest among other universities.
Full report on the Daily Yomiuri site

UK: The science of funding
The latest research assessment exercise, the tortuous tool used to judge the quality of research in UK universities and to allocate funding, takes place in 2008 after a seven-year hiatus. The findings could make or break several institutions. Tables compiled by Evidence for the Education Guardian show the big research players will secure the top slots – but there are surprising results in terms of research papers and their impacts.
Full report on the Education Guardian site

UK: Middle Eastern links replace boycott
Following the international outcry over the university and college union’s (recently shelved) debate on an academic boycott of Israel, four university chiefs from England, Wales and Scotland have visited counterparts in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Could this win Britain new friends in the Middle East?, asks Lucy Hodges in The Independent.
Full report on The Independent site

ISRAEL: The relevance of ethnic origin
A study by masters student Israel Blechman discovered that Mizrahi Jews constitute less than one in 10 senior academic staff and that Arabs comprise only 1%, reports Haaretz. “The overwhelming majority of the academic elite, some 90%, consists of Ashkenazim – Jewish men of Eastern-European descent, and to a lesser extent, Ashkenazi women. Still, academics believe there has not been discrimination – just no “promising candidates”.
Full report on the Haaretz site

DUBAI: Conference calls for more university funding
Limited facilities for learning foreign languages, low spending on higher education and lack of quality control were a focus of discussion at last week’s Knowledge Conference in Dubai, reports AME Info. It also saw the announcement of 25 key initiatives including an annual Arab Knowledge Report, which will assess the status of knowledge and higher education in the region.
Reports of the conference on the AME Info site

DUBAI: Comoros to send more students to Malaysia
Comoros is to send more students to study in Malaysia, the African island country’s Minister of National Education Abdourahim Said Bakar said at a meeting in Dubai. While Comoros has traditionally sent students to France, Senegal and Libya, Malaysia’s success in the past 50 years had encouraged it to send more students to the fellow Muslim country.
Full report on the Malaysian National News Agency site

SOUTH KOREA: Private universities face admissions probe
The government will launch a special task force to probe admissions irregularities at private universities in the wake of a bribery scandal involving Yonsei University. Education Minister Cheong Wa Dae said the ministry will investigate alleged irregularities involving students transferring from other schools, following news that 75 private universities have never been inspected regarding transfer student admissions.
Full report on the Korea Times site

US: Full-time professors satisfied with their jobs
Many administrators complain about the many complaints of their faculty members, but it turns out that most professors are pretty happy with their jobs, writes Scott Jaschik in Inside Higher Ed. A new survey by TIAA-CREF found that 53% of faculty members are ‘very satisfied’ with their jobs, 43% are ‘somewhat satisfied’ and only 2% are ‘not at all satisfied’.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site

US: Food the new cause at universities
Students have a reputation for partying and late-night pizza, but the menu at Yale University reflects a choosier appetite, reports Newsday. It features grass-fed hamburgers, organic tomato sauce, low-fat milk from a cooperative and coffee and teas that meet fair trade standards. Food is the new campus cause, with students pushing their schools to use their purchasing power and influence to buy locally grown or organic produce.
Full report on the Newsday site

SOUTH AFRICA: Africa must boost science and technology
Africa is lagging in the global science and technology race. While Sub-Saharan Africa contributes 2.3% of world gross domestic product, it is responsible for only 0.4% of global spending on research and development and is home to 1.1% of the world’s researchers, reports the Mail and Guardian. The African Union has a Science and Technology Plan of Action, but leaders have not agreed on how to finance it and national policies in many countries are outdated.
Full report on the Mail and Guardian site
Copyright University World News 2007