ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0057  14 December 2008
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Africa is experiencing a severe shortage of academics. The continent's university leaders met in Ghana to discuss the issue recently, our correspondent reports.

We report on university reaction to impacts of the global recession in our news section, while in the feature section historian Paul Axelrod considers how the 1930s depression affected universities.

A new OECD report predicts the dominance of women in the university student body will continue to grow. In fact, women are expected to account for 70 per cent of students in some countries by 2025, we report.



Dear Readers

This is the final edition of University World News for 2008. The year began with a considerable degree of optimism among those working in universities in many countries but has ended with one big question mark hanging over 2009: will the economic situation continue to worsen and how will higher education be affected?

Even the wealthiest universities in the wealthiest country on earth have not escaped the effects of the financial tsunami that has swept across the globe, wreaking havoc on businesses and industries and forcing millions of people out of the workforce. As our coverage of the impact of the growing recession on higher education in this issue reveals, universities almost everywhere are confronting a downturn the like of which none of their leaders have ever experienced.

University World News will return to continue its global reporting of the people and events in higher education on 11 January. Meantime, we wish you all a peaceful and, if possible, happy time over the forthcoming festive season.

The Editors

GLOBAL: Universities lose billions as recession deepens
Geoff Maslen
Few higher education institutions around the world appear to have escaped the collapse of financial markets. In Asia, Africa, North America, Europe, Britain and down under in Australia and New Zealand, universities have been hit hard as the value of their investments in property and shares and, in many cases, their income from diverse sources crumples. How to counter, or at the very least cope with, this alarming situation – unique in the experience of university managers – will be the great challenge in the year ahead. As the following stories show, for higher education the boom days are well and truly over.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Invest in universities to fight recession
John Gerritsen*
Vice-chancellors have urged New Zealand’s new government to invest in universities as an anti-recession measure. And, if the government will not come up with the money, it should relax controls on student fees so universities can increase their fee income, they say.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Higher education spending to boost economy
Michael Gardner
Germany’s Education and Research Minister Annette Schavan has come up with proposals to fund measures in higher education and research as a way to help stimulate the country’s flagging economy. Investing around €15 billion (US$20 billion) in higher education infrastructure and providing tax incentives for small and medium-sized business to spend more on research could provide a vital boost to business, Schavan says.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: The Great Depression revisited?
How did universities fare during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and is there anything instructive today’s academics can learn from those years about what may lie ahead? Are you ready to ponder the once-imponderable? In this week’s Features section, Canadian historian Paul Axelrod considers the university experience of the 1930s and its possible implications for the present.
Full report on the University World News site

MISSING: Africa’s next generation of academics

Higher education in Africa is expanding faster than anywhere else on earth. But universities are running out of academics to teach growing student numbers. Reasons for the academic shortfall include a brain drain, lack of funding for research, low salaries, heavy teaching loads and insufficient programmes to train and retain young academics. As a result, according to the World Bank, vacancy rates for academic staff frequently run between 25% and 50%.

Last month in Ghana, at a second University Leaders’ Forum, African and global vice-chancellors and higher education experts gathered to debate and share ideas about academic staff development and retention. There were 37 university leaders from 18 African universities, representatives of governments and national tertiary organisations, young scholars and private sector leaders. The problem is severe but there are solutions and many actions to be taken, participants agreed at the event hosted by the US donor collaboration, the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. Karen MacGregor reports.

AFRICA: Next generation of academics – The problem
Universities across Africa are running out of academics. The scale of the crisis and reasons for it differ between countries but all are affected and one thing is certain, says Professor Goolam Mohamedbhai, Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities – the continent must “think outside the box” if it is to succeed in developing a new generation of scholars.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Challenges of equity, ageing, expansion
South Africa faces the multiple challenges of transforming the racial and gender profile of its scholarly workforce, tackling a looming staff crisis as nearly half of its most senior academics retire in the coming decade, and growing academic numbers as higher education expands to achieve a 20% participation rate. Urgent interventions are required, says Professor Saleem Badat, vice-chancellor of Rhodes University.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Data + cooperation + differentiation = scholars
There are pressing needs for information, cooperation and differentiation in higher education if African countries are to meet the challenge of developing and retaining the next generation of academics, says Suzanne Grant Lewis, coordinator of the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, a collaboration of seven US foundations working in nine African countries. These imperatives emerged at a University Leaders’ Forum held in Ghana last month.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Grow the pool of potential academics
There is no mystery about what the challenge is for skills-short African countries that do not have enough academics to teach rapidly expanding student populations, says Professor Brian O’Connell, Vice-chancellor of the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. “It is producing more good graduates and enticing them into academia.” But dramatically increasing student numbers and thus the pool of potential new academics will require major increases in higher education funding – as well as the teachers that institutions do not have.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Training and retaining scholars – ‘To do’ list
Universities can do nothing about macro-factors that pull Africa’s best young minds to the West, such as far superior salaries, job opportunities and quality of life. But much can be done to alleviate ‘push’ factors like shoddy workplaces, lack of equipment, teaching overload and uncaring managers. Higher education leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa have created a “to do” list of actions that will help to train and retain the next generation of scholars.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Global university leaders pledge support
Global university leaders have called on Africa to come up with proposals for collaboration that could bring the intellectual and resource muscle of the world’s top institutions to bear on the challenge of training a new generation of academics. Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University and head of a Global University Leaders’ Forum (GULF) team attending a forum of African higher education heads in Ghana, said ways of supporting African universities would be discussed by GULF at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos next month.
Full report on the University World News site

MORE NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GREECE: Universities suffer in violent riots
Makki Marseilles
Four universities and a number of historic buildings across Greece were damaged last week during the riots that followed the shooting by police of a 15-year-old youth in Athens. The National Library, a neo-classical building housing invaluable and irreplaceable books in the centre of the capital, caught fire as did the National Archaeological Museum – both were saved at the last minute by the timely arrival of the fire brigade. But the law school library at Athens University, home of important legal documents, was completely destroyed and university Rector Christos Kittas resigned in protest, unable to find words to express his frustration and anger at the carnage.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Leading a global arms race in innovation
Simon Marginson*
China has upped the ante on the education revolution. Between 1998 and 2005, the number of students enrolled in tertiary education in China rose by an extraordinary 4.4 times to 15.6 million, not far short of the total tertiary enrolment in each of the US and the European Union.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Female domination to strengthen
John Gerritsen*
Women will account for more than 70% of higher education students in Austria and England and for an average of 59% across the developed world by 2025, a new OECD report indicates. The report, Higher Education to 2030, said in 2005, 55% of higher education students in the 30 OECD nations were women and women accounted for 60% or more of higher education enrolments in Norway, Sweden and Iceland. But by 2025, 10 nations would have student bodies that were 60% or more female and the OECD average would be 59%, the report said.
Full report on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Concern grows over religious conservatism
David Jardine
Concern is growing in Indonesia over the strength and influence of conservative and right-radical forms of Islam among university students. A debate is taking place against the background of increased local applications of elements of the Islamic sharia code and other perceived threats to the country’s constitutionally mandated religious pluralism.
Full report on the University World News site

PORTUGAL: Lisbon builds bridges with Iran
Paul Rigg
To celebrate the 500th anniversary of relations between Portugal and Iran, the University of Lisbon organised a festival on Iranian art and culture earlier this month. Co-sponsored by the University of Lisbon’s division of cultural activities and the Iranian Embassy, the exhibition gave residents of Lisbon a unique opportunity to learn about historic links between the two countries as well as Iran's cultural heritage.
Full report on the University World News site

UGANDA: Students strike over poor conditions
Kayiira Kizito*
Hundreds of Nkumba University students went on hunger strike last week after the university senate failed to meet their demands. The university is one of 21 private and five public universities in Uganda but many are facing student protests over poor housing and inadequate facilities on campus.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE-US: HEC and MIT Sloan sign global MBA alliance
Jane Marshall
Two top international schools of management, France’s HEC and the American MIT Sloan, have signed a strategic partnership agreement to develop exchanges and collaboration through educational, research, professional and cross-cultural activities between students and faculty.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE-US: St Edward’s returns to its French roots
Jane Marshall
St. Edward’s University, set up by French missionaries nearly 125 years ago in Austin, Texas, is returning to its roots with establishment of a campus in Angers, France. From September 2009, the university will open its doors to European and US students, offering joint graduate degrees with its partner the Université Catholique de Ouest (UCO), study programmes abroad and professional training for businesses.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Future imperfect
Diane Spencer
Around 900 delegates from the higher education sector worldwide gathered last week in London’s docklands for Going Global 3, the UK’s largest international education conference organised by the British Council. Speakers at the two-day event focused on themes of student mobility, internationalisation, partnership and employability.
Full report on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: Professor quits despite global protest
Jonathan Travis*
Appeals from academics and organisations around the world to University of KwaZulu-Natal authorities were not enough to prevent the resignation of Professor Nithaya Chetty, The Witness reported. Inside sources claim Chetty was pushed to resign by his own lawyers for fear of further retribution. The highly respected 45-year-old physicist received immediate job offers from a number of South African institutions and has accepted one from the University of Johannesburg.
Full report on this and other Academic Freedom stories on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: University petitioned on freedom inroads
About 150 staff at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa have put their names to a petition calling on Education Minister Naledi Pandor to intervene in an long-running dispute over academic freedom, writes Sue Blaine in Business Day. The argument has pitted vice-chancellor Professor Malegapuru Makgoba against some of 4,000 staff members, of whom 1,960 are academics, and international academics.
More on the University World News site


GREECE: Universities suffer in violent riots
Makki Marseilles
Four universities and a number of historic buildings across Greece were damaged last week during the riots that followed the shooting by police of a 15-year-old youth in Athens.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Universities and the Great Depression
As economists predict a major crisis for the world economy, perhaps as profound as the Great Depression, York University historian Paul Axelrod looks in the journal Academic Matters at the university experience of the 1930s and its possible implications for the present.
Full report on the University World News site

RUSSIA: Pay staff more to get top teachers
Nick Holdsworth
Isak Froumin has a simple formula for fast-tracking progress at Moscow's Higher School of Economics: pay staff better salaries and help them to work at world standards. Seconded from the World Bank – where he has spent the last eight years as senior education spec ialist – Froumin, 50, is senior advisor to rector Yaroslavl Kuzminov, a position that ranks him vice-rector.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: The knowledge economy and global public sphere
Professor Simon Marginson*
The creation of a worldwide communicative structure is a key turning point in history, comparable in its transformative impact with the industrial revolution, perhaps the Neolithic (agricultural) revolution. The world is becoming one zone of association in which all human activities interface, with a common store of knowledge. At the same time the world continues to be diverse in political, linguistic and cultural terms. The common zone of association is a site in which differences are brought into a relation with each other, on a voluntary basis, achieving harmony in diversity without the need for abstract uniformity.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: The global challenge for universities
Professor Shih Choon Fong*
Universities in smaller economies like Singapore and Australia can ride the rising Asia-Pacific tide by focusing on niche areas, helping them compete for globally mobile talent and resources, and build up strengths. These areas of strength can build the foundation for strong global bridges with traffic flowing in both directions. Without indigenous areas of strength, a bridge merely functions as a service stop.
More on the University World News site


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JAPAN: Graduates brace for job crunch
University students in the world’s second-largest economy could face a rude awakening as the global financial crisis hits Japan, prompting firms to cut graduate recruitment, reports Chisa Fujioka for Reuters. “Students last year didn't have any trouble finding jobs, but the situation seems to have suddenly changed this year,” said Junya Kubota, 21, one of 25,000 nervous third-year college students at a recent weekend career forum in Tokyo.
More on the University World News site

US: Harvard faculty halts searches for professors
Harvard University officials said they would postpone nearly all searches for tenure-track professors in the school’s largest academic body, in a sobering indication of how the economic crisis has hit the world’s wealthiest university, writes Tracy Jan in The Boston Globe. The move by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which also plans to freeze salaries for its 720-member faculty, followed a stop on hiring non-faculty staff announced last month.
More on the University World News site

US: More eligible students, fewer college slots
California high schools are graduating more students qualified to enter a public university than in past years – especially Latinos – but the state's grim financial picture means not everyone may get to enrol, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
More on the University World News site

US: Court allows review of scholar’s visa denial
A United States judge last week ruled that federal courts may review the case of a Muslim South African scholar denied a visa to enter America on the grounds he had engaged in terrorist activities, reports Independent Online.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities may face deficit
Serious concerns have been raised about the future financial sustainability of the UK’s universities, writes Hannah Richardson of the BBC. The higher education sector overall is predicting a 4% real terms deficit, partly due to a £2 billion (US$3 billion) shortfall in research funding and high staff costs.
More on the University World News site

UK: Devolution creates university funding gap
Universities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could be threatened as fee-charging institutions in England grow ever larger, a report warned last week. The study by the vice-chancellors’ group, Universities UK, warned of the possible impact of devolution on diverging higher education policies within the UK, writes Anthea Lipsett in The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

UK: Academics petition over ‘spying’
Academics and students have presented a 4,500-signature petition to Downing Street, urging the government to withdraw new immigration rules for overseas students in the UK, reports the BBC. From next March, universities will need a licence to offer places to students from outside the European Union, and will have to act as their sponsors. Lecturers will be expected to monitor whether foreign students are attending tutorials and report if they fail to attend.
More on the University World News site

PHILLIPINES: Boost planned for universities and research
Commission on Higher Education Chairman, Emmanuel Angeles, has vowed to strengthen research and development capability in state universities and colleges, reports the Phillipine News Agency. The country’s 111 state institutions have been divided into six clusters to maximise the utilisation of resources.
More on the University World News site

PERU: Yale sued for disputed Inca artefacts
Peru is suing Yale University in a US federal court to recover thousands of Inca artefacts removed from the Machu Picchu jungle ruins nearly a century ago, reports Associated Press. In a suit filed earlier this month in Washington, the South American nation is demanding that Yale returns what it says are more than 40,000 artefacts taken by famed scholar Hiram Bingham III between 1911 and 1915.
More on the University World News site

US: Princeton settles $900 million endowment lawsuit
Princeton University has settled a lawsuit over an endowment valued in June at more than $900 million, ending a six-year dispute about how the money is spent. The suit hinged on whether Princeton was meeting the donor’s requirement of using the gift to educate students for government careers, reports Bloomberg.
More on the University World News site

IRAN: Protesters cause damage at Tehran University
An “illegal splinter group” of an Iranian student body caused damage and clashed with security personnel during a gathering at Tehran University last weekend, the official IRNA news agency reported. Pictures obtained by Reuters showed hundreds of people gathered at the university in the centre of the Iranian capital, some carrying pro-democracy banners.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Government to improve quality in universities
Kenya’s government has admitted that quality in universities is low and needs immediate improvement. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Professor Crispus Kiamba, said efforts to address the issue were underway and that a regional approach had been taken.
More on the University World News site

DUBAI: Tuition fees checked by universities’ expansion
The rapid opening of universities in Dubai has kept tuition fees down, the head of the emirate’s education authority says, reports The National. Dr Abdulla al Karam, chairman of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, said the growing number of university spaces was “working for the students”. He was responding to concerns that too many universities have been opening, risking closures of those that fail to attract enough students.
More on the University World News site
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