ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0083 05 July 2009
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GLOBAL: More than 1,000 delegates arrive in Paris
David Jobbins
UNESCO's World Conference on Higher Education 2009 opens in Paris this week and builds squarely on the fundamental principles set out by delegates to the first global conference in 1998. The 1,000-plus delegates from governments, national, regional and international organisations, and individual higher education institutions will tackle the new dynamics of higher education and research, in particular shaping strategies for societal change and development. As the official media representative for the conference, University World News will provide daily reports on our webpage.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Trends in global higher education
Karen MacGregor
Key drivers of a 21st century academic “revolution” are identified in a trend report produced for this week’s UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education. The drivers are the massification of tertiary systems everywhere, the ‘public good’ versus ‘private good’ debate, the impacts of information and communications technology, and the rise of the knowledge economy and globalisation. All major changes in higher education worldwide stem in one way or another from these motivating forces, the report’s authors say.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Higher education in the future
Karen MacGregor
The enormous challenge facing global higher education in the next decade is the uneven distribution of human capital and funds, which will allow some nations to take full advantage of new opportunities while others drift further and further behind. This is one of several future trends predicted by a report for the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education. It says accelerating change is presenting more complex problems with each passing decade.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Protect academics from attack
Five leading organisations committed to upholding academic rights and assisting refugee scholars throughout the world will urge UNESCO this week to take a stronger stand against persecution of academics and to show a greater commitment to core international higher education values.
Full report on the University World News site

Our special edition published last Wednesday was based on a report by the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge. Our coverage of the report generated a considerable number of responses. You can read two of them in our U-Say section in this issue while the others are attached to specific articles in the special edition.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

UK: Collaborate with Iraq, universities told
Diane Spencer
British universities could play a key role in rebuilding Iraq’s higher education sector, says a new report. Published by the UK Higher Education International Unit, the British Universities Iraq Consortium and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK Higher Education Engagement with Iraq looks at the prospects for greater academic collaboration between the two countries.
Full report on the University World News site

COMMONWEALTH: Vice-chancellors angry at outcome
David Jobbins
Vice-chancellors are frustrated at the failure of Commonwealth education ministers to reflect adequately the outcome of pioneering discussions held in parallel with last month’s education summit in Kuala Lumpur. For the first time, vice-chancellors took part in a forum at the 17th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers where they discussed higher education’s contribution to tackling the global current financial crisis and other issues. The final communiqué made only passing reference to the forum’s outcome and vice-chancellors have issued a three-page summary as a self-standing declaration.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Universities face loss of millions
Leah Germain
Two American universities are trying to recuperate tens of millions of dollars they invested with a firm accused of defrauding investors, according to legal documents obtained by University World News. The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, also in Pittsburgh, both invested money with Westridge Capital Management Inc and associated companies that have been accused by the US Security and Exchange Commission of misappropriating and dissipating investments.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Future of graduate education
A 19-member commission of American corporate and university leaders has been formed to study how American graduate schools can best meet the challenges of the 21st century. The commission will focus on maintaining the pre-eminence of the schools in the face of rising global competition. The Commission on the Future of Graduate Education was established with support from the Educational Testing Service and the US Council of Graduate Schools.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: India reacts to attacks on students
Geoff Maslen
As media reporting in Australia and India continues to highlight attacks on Asian students, India’s External Affairs Minister SM Krishna announced he would visit Australia next month to hold bilateral talks with the Australian government. Meantime, an Australian delegation has arrived in Delhi to meet with national government ministers and officials before travelling to major centres in an effort to allay concerns.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTHERN AFRICA: First regional guide to universities
Karen MacGregor
Southern Africa’s first regional guide to universities is aimed at providing information about the institutions while also showing how historical trends over the past half-century have influenced the development of higher education. Produced by the Southern African Regional Universities’ Association, SARUA, the guide will be updated regularly.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Grants frozen as fees rise
David Jobbins
The UK government has frozen maintenance awards for English university students but announced a 2% rise in tuition fees.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Sweden aims for research reforms
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Swedish Presidency of the European Union took effect last Wednesday and major reforms are likely in the way research is organised in the European Union, notably in the foundation for a Framework Programme 8 that could differ from its forerunners.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: More students and higher grades
Makki Marseilles
Although fewer secondary education leavers took part in the Panhellenic Higher Education Entrance Examinations this year, more students will enter university or a higher education technological institute, according to results published by the Greek Ministry of Education. But students need higher grades for the more popular schools and courses.
Full report on the University World News site

U-SAY – UNESCO Forum Research Report

From Professor Leodegardo M Pruna
I appreciate and laud Professor Mala Singh for her report on the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, which outlined issues and concerns in higher education and research as analysed during a 10-year period. It is recognised that there exists a large gap in research and education undertakings between developed, developing and less developed countries. This gap results from the disparities in income, from where support and inputs to development in education and research come.

From Adrian Gibbs
I refer to the Importance of 'research on research' report in the special edition. This is an excellent article and absolutely correct but, like many, ignores the fact that research is done by people – individual people. Much more time and energy must be put into discovering how to attract people into research and to provide them with optimum conditions for research.
Full letters on the University World News site



OECD: On-line ‘education lighthouse’
An on-line collaborative platform to pool knowledge and facilitate exchange on education issues, called educationtoday, was launched by the OECD last week. The organisation says the launch was part of its drive to help governments and other stakeholders respond to the global economic crisis.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: New perspective on poor readers
One in five children in the EU is a poor reader. The PROREAD study, coordinated by Leo Blomert of the faculty of psychology and neuroscience of Maastricht University, is the first EU reading research project based on individual test data of 3,000 children from six EU member states.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Facebook for scientists takes off
John Gerritsen
A year after its launch, ResearchGATE, a professional and social networking website for the world’s researchers, has signed up more than 80,000 members and become the preferred communication platform of three scientific organisations.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAWI: Students in court following protests
More than 40 university students in Malawi have appeared in court for violent behaviour during protests against the non-payment of allowances, a police spokesperson said last week. The students at Mzuzu University went on the rampage after waiting nearly three months to be paid allowances.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Arctic graduates far from campus
A group of 21 Inuit women each graduated with a masters in education degree in a ceremony last week in Iqaluit, 2,000 kilometres north of the university that awarded them their diploma.
Full report on the University World News site


IRAN: Arrest of academics condemned
Jonathan Travis*
The UK’s University and College Union has condemned the Iranian government after 70 university professors were arrested as part of the state’s crackdown on opposition protestors. The academics were held on 25 June after meeting the pro-reformist candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi, who has accused President Ahmadinejad of rigging last month's national elections.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site


OECD: Biotechnology assuming major role
Alan Osborn
Provided certain development obstacles are overcome, biotechology will loom large in industry, agriculture and health by 2030, the OECD predicts. The Paris-based organisation says biotechnology will contribute up to 2.7% of gross domestic product in industrialised countries and even more in developing countries compared with the less than 1% in the OECD countries at present.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: €250 million loan to technology researchers
Leah Germain
Telecommunications giant Nokia Siemens Networks has received a €250 million loan from the European Investment Bank to support research and development into radio access network technology.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Award for wave energy collaboration
Emma Jackson
After years of collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast and renewable energy company Aquamarine Power, the Oyster wave energy converter has been named top innovation at the 2009 British Renewable Energy Awards.
Full report on University World News website

CANADA: College opens brewery – to improve students’ minds
Monica Dobie
Niagara College in St Catherines, in southern Ontario, will launch a groundbreaking brewmaster diploma programme in September 2010, assuming the construction of a teaching brewery can be finished on time.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA: Pressure to improve graduate job skills
Dominique Patton
China is coming under growing pressure to make its graduates more employable as it faces its biggest unemployment crisis in decades. More than six million students will graduate this summer, joining more than one million of last year’s class who are still unemployed and several million more workers who have lost jobs since the slowdown of the global economy.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Universities fair well in recession, says Moody’s
Universities are expected to experience some stress but be more sheltered than other sectors from the global recession, says a new report on higher education by Moody’s International Public Finance. “This is due to their counter-cyclical business aspects, government support, and growing role in economic development and rebuilding.” However, many face conflicting pressures of rising demand for their services while also needing to adjust to a weaker funding outlook.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Rapid growth in campus sustainability activities
More than 66 sustainability-focused academic programmes were created in North America last year, at least 13 sustainability-themed research centres opened and plans were announced for 33 more, according to the just-published digest of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. The AASHE Digest 2008 documents the continued rapid growth of campus sustainability in the US and Canada.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

BELARUS – Dance with Lukashenko keeps graduate on her toes
Nick Holdsworth
Minsk Pedagogical University graduate Tatyana Radkevich had to tread carefully when she was chosen to dance with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at a graduation ball. Radkevich, who graduated from the Pedagogical University’s faculty of national culture last month, was petrified she would tread on the president’s toes.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Six degrees of freedom with chewing robot
The UK spends around £2.5 billion each year on dental materials to replace or strengthen teeth. Now a ‘Chewing Robot’ has been developed as a new, biologically-inspired way to test dental materials. The robot was demonstrated to the public for the first time last week at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London.
Full report on the University World News site

US: But I’m an athlete
A university’s recent attempt to cut its women’s volleyball team and replace it with a competitive cheerleading squad has rekindled the flames of a fiery debate among scholars of gender equity in collegiate athletics: namely, is cheerleading a sport? asks David Moltz in Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

FOR SALE: University World News E-book

Reports from the Frontier: A global view of the key issues confronting higher education

Reports from the Frontier is the first in a planned series of electronic books to be published by University World News. The initial volume comprises eight chapters that range from the impact of the global financial crisis on universities, declining funding, and the Bologna process, to women in higher education, international rankings and e-learning. The 337-page e-book includes an index listing the chapters and article headings, and is available as a special offer to University World News readers. To see the contents page and to order your copy click here.


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US: Online beats face-to-face education, study finds
Online learning has definite advantages over face-to-face instruction when it comes to teaching and learning, according to a new meta-analysis released last week by the US Department of Education, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. The study found that students who took all or part of their instruction online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through face-to-face instruction.
More on the University World News site

US: Ivy League endowments fall behind
The markets finally found a way to stump the Ivy League, writes Craig Karmin for The Wall Street Journal. The largest college endowments, long the envy of smaller rivals for their sophisticated and profitable investment strategies, were left behind over the past year by the performance of smaller schools with far simpler approaches.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Foreign student death details suppressed
Details of the deaths of more than 50 overseas students have been suppressed by Australian coroners amid evidence the death toll is higher than the Federal Government has admitted, write Chris Johnston and Heath Gilmore for The Age.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Tibetan monks and nuns turn to science
Tibetan monks and nuns spend their lives studying the inner world of the mind rather than the physical world of matter. Yet for one month this spring a group of 91 monastics devoted themselves to the corporeal realm of science, reports The New York Times. Instead of delving into Buddhist texts on karma and emptiness, they learned about Galileo’s law of accelerated motion, chromosomes, neurons and the Big Bang, among other far-ranging topics.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Allow quality foreign universities – survey
Seeking regulatory reforms in higher education, the Economic Survey has suggested that quality foreign players should be allowed in the sector, reports the Economic Times. It also called for regulatory reforms to help focus on “providing honest and transparent quality ratings and information on financial costs”.
More on the University World News site

US: Sociology turns up assessment, study shows
The question of how to measure learning – and if it can or should be measured at all – continues to stir debate, writes Stephanie Lee for Inside Higher Ed. But despite skeptics’ grumblings, sociology departments are increasingly using assessment methods to evaluate students experiences, according to a new study by the American Sociological Association.
More on the University World News site

US: Tweeting to promote university internationally
From Japan, University of Michigan-Flint student Fatima Qureshi wrote about her first Japanese-style sugar cookie, visiting the Toyota factory and biking through town with groceries. Twitter has no boundaries and more universities are finding that the hot high-tech trend can be a low-budget marketing tool – even overseas. The university will be asking more students to tweet about international experiences to promote its programmes, reports Flint News.
More on the University World News site

UK: Poorer students narrow the university gap
More young students from poor backgrounds in Britain are going to university than ever before, narrowing the gap between rich and poor students’ participation rates, new government figures suggest, writes Anthea Lipsett for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

UK: Degrees of comfort: more students choose colleges
Some students prefer to take university-level courses at further education colleges, where they get smaller classes, a more hands-on approach and help with employment when they graduate, writes Kate Hilpern for The Independent.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Is Kenya ready for world-class universities?
A proposed law on higher education comes at a time when expansion of tertiary education in Kenya is in disarray from market-type competition for students, writes Wachira Kigotho for The Standard. It is one of three drafted bills and seeks to consolidate disparate statutes into one law that would enable the Commission of Higher Education to provide leadership in governance of universities and other tertiary institutions.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Nankai University dismisses 168 PhD students
One of China’s leading higher education institutions, Nankai University, has dismissed 168 doctorate students since 2006, the ChinaCSR agency reports. Tong Jiadong, director of the Postgraduate Students School at the university, said dismissing students who were lagging behind was a step in achieving excellence.
More on the University World News site

BEIJING: Top scorer may lose Peking place for lying
A talented Chinese student who won a place at the prestigious Peking University may not be enrolled for lying about his ethnic status during the national college entrance examination, Xinhua news agency reports. He Chuanyang scored 659, the highest in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality. But the local admission office said he and 30 other students had falsely claimed 20 additional test points because of their “ethnic minority status”.
More on the University World News site
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