ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0045  21 September 2008
HE Events Diary

Opportunities Jobs

Higher Education Marketing

CBIE Conference

G45_OECD report_NL1
A new OECD report on tertiary education calls on universities to be more proactive internationally. See the News section.

International students in America complete their PhDs at a higher rate than domestic students, reports the Council of Graduate Schools. See the News section. iStock

Widening participation is as much about increasing ratios of under-represented groups as it is about growing numbers, the International Management of Higher Education conference in Paris was told. See the Features section.


Signs that Europe is slipping behind in the global technology race has prompted the European Commission to launch a major ICT consultation. See the News section. iStock.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: OECD calls for greater internationalisation
Karen MacGregor
Governments should position their higher education systems in the global arena, develop a strategy and framework for internationalisation and encourage institutions to be more proactive internationally, says an OECD report published last week. Tertiary Education for the Knowledge Society offers this and other policy advice to countries striving to build tertiary education in ways that stimulate innovation, competitiveness and economic growth.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: What are universities for?
The enduring elements of the success of universities explain why, in a global economy, they are now regarded as crucial national assets. But a discussion paper released last Thursday says this has also resulted in a certain amount of “loose thinking” about the roles that universities can play in society, while obscuring their most important contributions to it.
Full report on the University World News site

UAE: Poor English limiting university access
Tabitha Morgan
Education deficiencies among university entrants in the United Arab Emirates have prompted the government to institute broad reforms of the school system. Although Arabic is the primary language of instruction in state schools, most university tuition is in English. At present around one-third of university budgets is spent on foundation courses designed mainly to help students improve their English.
Full report on the University World News site

JORDAN: IFC launches student loans scheme
Rebecca Warden
More than 3,000 Jordanian students could soon benefit from student loans under a new scheme being launched by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, Omnix International and the Cairo Amman Bank. The loans will contribute to the cost of tuition at state and private universities and should help students from poorer families to get a university education, as well as boosting the country’s low participation rate.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Foreign students better at completing PhDs
Philip Fine
International students in the US finish their PhDs at a higher rate than domestic students, according to the Council of Graduate Schools which has released results from the largest analysis to date of data on doctoral students.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: New guidelines for teacher training
Michael Gardner
A catalogue of measures has been presented to improve teacher training in Germany by the country’s employers’ association, the Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen Arbeitgeberverbände or BDA, and its Confederation of Industry, the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V or BDI. The two organisations complain that reforms have not gone far enough and have had too little impact.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Elections prevent university’s closure
Makki Marseilles
Only hours before expiry of the time required by the Education Act, approved by the Greek parliament earlier this year, the Technological University of Crete managed to elect a rector, thereby preventing a management crisis which might have led to the institution’s closure. It was the fifth successive election – four previous attempts failed when a small group of militant students opposed to the act and committed to rendering it inoperative, violently disrupted the elections forcing the institution to postpone them.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: New category of university rejected
John Gerritsen
A parliamentary committee has advised against creation of a new category of tertiary institution aimed at bridging the gap between New Zealand’s universities and polytechnics. The Education and Science Select committee delivered its report on a controversial Bill proposing creation of the ‘university of technology’ as a separate category of institution.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Radical new ICT approach needed
Alan Osborn
The European Commission has launched a major consultation about the development of information and communications technology in the EU following indications that Europe is slipping further behind in the global technology race.
Full report on the University World News site


IRAN: SAR and NEAR call for urgent action
Jonathan Travis*
Scholars at Risk (SAR) and the Network for Education and Academic Rights (NEAR) have expressed grave concern about the apparent detention of Dr Mehdi Zakerian, an Assistant Professor at Islamic Azad University in Tehran. Zakerian, a scholar of international law and international human rights, has more than 10 years of experience teaching international and Islamic human rights, has more than 50 publications to his name and has recently been appointed Chair of the International Studies Association of Iran.
More academic freedom reports on the University World News site


EUROPE: Research findings open to all online
Alan Osborn
The European Commission has responded to growing demand in the science community for unfettered access to research by launching a pilot project to make European Union-funded research in seven key subject areas available free of charge on the internet.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Google cash for carbon footprint calculator
Philip Fine
“I’m Feeling Lucky,” the button says on Google’s ubiquitous search engine page. And it’s what five young Canadian engineers in training are probably saying after receiving US$275,000 from Google Inc. for a software application idea that calculates a traveller’s carbon footprint.
Full report on the University World News site

USA: Researchers develop odourless mosquito trap
Monica Dobie
Researchers from the US University of California, Davis, have developed a commercially-valuable mosquito trap that – unlike the scents currently used to lure these insects to their doom – does not repel humans with its odour.
Full report on the University World News site


Global: Fears of widening participation
Diane Spencer
In his keynote address to the OECD’s Institutional Management of Higher Education conference in Paris, Chris Brink, vice-chancellor of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, looked at doubts and fears expressed about widening participation. Drawing on his experiences of working in South Africa, Australia and the UK, Brink said the idea was not mainly about changing numbers but ratios: increasing the participation of certain groups considered to be under-represented in higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Higher education and ethnic Chinese
David Jardine
The Chinese form a huge diaspora around the globe with its biggest concentration in Southeast Asia. Sizeable Chinese minorities exist in Indonesia, the largest numerically in the region; Malaysia, where they form the biggest non-Malay cohort; Thailand, where they have generally assimilated and are often difficult to differentiate from the Thais; and the Philippines. Singapore, meanwhile, is a Chinese-majority state.
Full report on the University World News site


US: When criminals control the Ministry of Education
George D Gollin
The connection between education and personal economic advantage drives a global market for higher education. But much of the world cannot create additional university capacity at a rate to match this demand. Diploma mills, businesses that sell bogus degrees to customers in search of easy credentials, comprise the dark response to these market forces. The recent demise of a sophisticated American diploma mill provides some insight into these abominations.
Full report on the University World News site
Article originally published in International Higher Education

US: Degree mills
Degree mills are the theme of the latest edition of International Higher Education, the journal of the Boston College Center for International Higher Education, which also features articles on academic career structures, internationalisation, cross-border higher education, GATS and tertiary education developments in China, India, Malaysia and Afghanistan. Later this year, at the initiative of the Graduate School of Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, International Higher Education will be translated and published in Chinese.
More on the University World News site


NIGERIA: Why no worry about rankings failure?
From Adenyi Bello*
I refer to your article regarding the Nigerian government’s decision to allow polytechnics and colleges to award degrees (14 September 2008) and to the previous week’s report on Indonesian universities’ poor world ranking. Go through a list of university world ranking and you will not find a Nigerian university in the top 600. Of course, the Nigerian government, unlike its Indonesia counterpart, is unfazed about this as are our university administrators.
Full letter on the University World News site


The Facebook group of University World News is the fastest growing in higher education worldwide. Some 260 UWN readers have joined. Sign up to the University World News Facebook group to meet and communicate directly with academics and researchers informed by the world’s first truly global higher education publication. Click on the link below to visit and join the group.
Visit the University World News group on Facebook

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

UK: Monty Python and the clergyman
Diane Spencer
Hackles were raised among the elite scientific fraternity last week when the education director of the illustrious Royal Society appeared to call for the teaching of creationism in science lessons. At the annual BA Science Festival, held in the European Capital of Culture in Liverpool, evolutionary biologist Dr Michael Reiss, also an Anglican priest, said there was much to be said for allowing students to raise their doubts about evolution and having a genuine discussion about it. However, two Nobel prize-winners took exception to his views and called for him to be sacked, and within two days Reiss stepped down.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Economy down, aid applications up
Jim Belvin has seen this movie before, writes Jack Stripling in Inside Higher Ed. As a long-time director of financial aid at Duke University, Belvin recalls a number of past economic downturns that caught families off guard, and invariably they’ve turned to his office for help. “I’ve always referred to the financial aid office as the canary in the economic mine,” said Belvin. This year, Duke saw a 6% increase in the number of students who said they intended to apply for need-based aid. While Belvin speculates that only about 1% of the new applicants will ultimately qualify for institutional aid, the increase reflects growing anxiety among students and their families amid a period of economic turmoil.
More on the University World News site

US: Students could hold keys to White House
It is voter registration day on the campus of Kutztown university in Pennsylvania and a small but dogged group of students are trying to persuade classmates to sign up for the November presidential election, writes Ed Pilkington in The Guardian. Ostensibly, the voter drive is non-partisan, but it is clear from flyers on the table this group backs Barack Obama. They are part of the Students4Obama movement that has swept through more than 700 campuses across America in a revival of youth engagement that could be decisive on polling day.
More on the University World News site

UK: Record increase in part-time students
Universities have been recruiting record numbers of part-time students to meet the government’s target of getting 50% of young adults into higher education by 2010, reports Anthea Lipsett in The Guardian. Part-time enrolments at undergraduate level have grown more rapidly than full-time students in the past 10 years and now make up nearly half of the student population, according to the latest trends report from Universities UK.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities should teach basic skills
Universities should teach students about the world of work because many lack the ability to “get up in the morning”, according to business leaders, reports The Telegraph. Some universities have already launched courses to drill undergraduates in skills needed in the workplace, such as team-building, writing CVs and impressing in interviews.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Universities boom leads to staff shortage
The rapid increase in numbers of institutions of higher learning in Vietnam cities over the last few years has sparked concerns about the quality of education and training, according to local educators, reports Vietnam News. Speaking at a conference in Hanoi for newly-established private universities and colleges, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thien Nhan said there was a severe shortage in teaching staff at these schools even as new institutes were being established.
More on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Privatised universities may spark classism
A proposed bill to advance the privatisation of top universities in Indonesia may lead to classism and conflict, as higher tuition fees will prevent underprivileged students from undergoing higher education, reports The Jakarta Post.
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Universities to set own tuition fee level
The Council for Higher Education announced last week that it will allow universities to determine their own individual tuition fees this coming academic year, until the government passes legislation regulating it, reports Ynetnews. This means that each university will be able to decide whether or not to raise its tuition fee level next year, or leave it unchanged. But students have threatened to launch protests if fees go up.
More on the University World News site

US: Gates accepting proposals for bold research
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that it is now accepting grant proposals for the second round of Grand Challenges Explorations, a five-year US$100 million initiative to encourage “bold and unconventional research” on new global health solutions.
More on the University World News site

US: Pennsylvania snuffs out campus smoking
With virtually no warning, smoking at 14 of Pennsylvania's state-owned universities has been banned anywhere on campus – even outdoors – reports Associated Press. The action has sparked protests around the state by some of the 110,000 students in the higher education system, who received word of the ban by e-mail last Wednesday, a day before a new state law forbidding smoking in most workplaces and public spaces took effect.
More on the University World News site
Copyright University World News 2007-2008