ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0087 02 August 2009
Support University World News - Click here to donate

HE Events Diary

Opportunities Jobs

Central University of Technology


Higher Education Marketing

Rare manuscripts could become accessible to researchers around the world and even in outer space through a new online tool under design in Australia, we report.

The UWN Interview – this week our correspondent talks to Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute and Professor of Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Does the Commonwealth have a future? See this week's Feature article on the subject.


University World News was the official media partner to the Unesco World Conference on higher education, held in Paris from 5-8 July.


NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Governments inflate worth of foreign students
Claims that foreign students generate billions of dollars in export income for the western countries that admit them in large numbers, such as the US, Australia and the UK, may be wildly inflated, according to an exclusive report to be published on the University World News website on Wednesday. Readers will find a detailed analysis showing why the figures quoted by governments of the education export income they derive from foreign students are wrong. See the full report on Wednesday.

UK: Top universities reject extra places
David Jobbins
English universities were last week given just 48 hours to accept 10,000 extra university places in priority areas, including science and technology for the coming 2009-10 academic year. But they will receive no additional state funds so 13 universities almost immediately declined the offer. A further 16 universities, most of them smaller research intensive institutions, later also refused to accept further places.
Full report on the University World News site

TURKEY: Barrier to religious school graduates lifted
Brendan O’Malley
The Board of Higher Education has voted to reform Turkey’s university entrance points system to end discrimination against graduates of vocational high schools.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: US still leads world rankings
Despite efforts to reduce the geographical bias of search engines, American universities still take the lead in the latest edition of the Ranking Web of World Universities. But some institutions in developing countries are reaching higher ranks, especially in Latin America where the University of Sao Paulo, in 38th place, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM, at 44, benefit from increasingly inter-connected Brazilian and Mexican academic web spaces.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Government acts to prevent collapse
Geoff Maslen
The federal government is taking belated steps to prevent a collapse in Australia’s multi-billion dollar education export industry with signs of a possible sharp fall in the lucrative Indian market.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Top university slashes 220 jobs
Geoff Maslen
The global financial crisis has struck one of Australia’s leading universities with Melbourne’s shock announcement last week that 220 full-time equivalent academic and administrative staff positions would be cut following a A$30 million decline in investment returns.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Idle minds and hands a social time bomb
Primarashni Gower
Nearly three million of the 6.7 million young South Africans in the 18-to-24-year age group were unemployed or not receiving education and training in 2007 – and they pose a threat of “serious social disruption”. These facts have been revealed by research funded by the Ford Foundation and undertaken by the Cape-based Centre for Higher Education Transformation and the University of the Western Cape’s Further Education and Training Institute.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Supreme court reinstates sacked academics
Tunde Fatunde
The Supreme Court of Nigeria has ruled the dismissal of five lecturers of the Federal University of Ilorin was invalid. The court will decide next month on a similar case affecting a further 44 academics who were also sacked eight years ago for taking part in a national strike organised by the Academic Staff Union. The verdict was hailed by lawyers and civil society organisations as a triumph of the rule of law and due process.
Full report on the University World News site

ALGERIA: Variable progress in Bologna’s fifth year
As 135,000 new students enrol for university studies, Algeria is about to begin its fifth academic year since it started introducing the Bologna higher education structure – with varying rates of progress in different institutions, reported La Tribune of Algiers.
Full report on the University World News site

UGANDA: Private universities could close
Kayiira Kizito
Uganda’s National Council for Higher Education has adopted stricter regulations for the registration of private institutions, in an effort to ensure standards. It has warned that some private universities might be forced to close.
Full report on the University World News site




GERMANY: Success for export of study programmes
Michael Gardner
The German Academic Exchange Service can boast a record number of grant-holders for 2008. German exports of study programmes appear to be expanding, too. However, the organisation warns that the new bachelors’ and masters’ courses that have been introduced in Germany leave students only a little leeway to gain experience abroad.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: E-research to revolutionise humanities
An online tool to be designed by a researcher at the University of Western Australia will enable a scholar in a remote part of the globe, or even an astronaut with some free time, to access the world’s rare medieval vellum manuscripts and carry out in-depth investigations with just a few clicks.
Full report on the University World News site

NORTHERN IRELAND: Purifying water in India
A team of scientists at Queen's University in Belfast has been chosen to lead a top research and training programme to prevent groundwater poisoning in India. More than 70 million people in Eastern India and Bangladesh experience involuntary exposure to the poisonous chemical arsenic from consuming water and rice. This includes farmers who have to use contaminated groundwater for minor irrigation schemes.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Universities urged to play unity role
Professor Abdou Salam Sall, Rector of the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, Senegal, has urged African universities to play a major role in forming policies for a United States of Africa. Sall was speaking in advance of a symposium at the university organised jointly with the Senegal government last week.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Call for digital library and archive
An African digital library and archives programme must be set up urgently as the continent lacks a comprehensive system for accessing and storing information, an international conference held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, heard last month. It suggested that the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) champion the initiative as the continent is lagging behind in the global drive to build digital libraries and archives.
Full report on the University World News site

GABON: Higher education loan to enhance skills
The African Development Bank has approved a US$154 million loan to the West African nation of Gabon to finance a higher education and vocational training support project aimed at boosting the country’s efforts to enhance technical skills in potential growth sectors. The project will benefit 1,000 higher and 4,000 technical education students a year.
Full report 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.


IRAN: Iranian-American academic detained
Jonathan Travis*
Dr Kian Tajbakhsh, a prominent Iranian-American social scientist, was arrested at his home by Tehran authorities on 9 July. The agents did not provide any legal justification for the arrest and took him to an undisclosed location.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Political runes support 2010 WTO deal
Keith Nuthall
The diplomatic stars are lining up for a World Trade Organization deal at the Doha Development Round next year. The outcome could significantly liberalise access to higher education markets round the globe.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Agreement on joint metrology promotion
Alan Osborn
Metrology, the science of measurement, has not figured largely in European research activities but that may change now the EU member states have promised money in support. Singing its praises for a range of business and industrial sectors, the EU Council of Ministers agreed that metrology was a cross-disciplinary scientific field and a vital component of a modern knowledge-based society.”
Full report on the University World News site

JAPAN: Aromatherapy really works
Monica Dobie
Cosmetics and natural oils producers will be able to commercially exploit new Japanese research that has suggested that aromatherapy, the use of fragrant oils to promote health and well being, does have scientific credibility in that certain scents really do decrease stress. levels.
Full report on the University World News site


COMMONWEALTH: Does it have a future?
David Jobbins
The Commonwealth has its detractors and big questions are again being raised about its future, if any. And not all are from hostile critics.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA-AFRICA: Protecting wildlife – and local people
Philip Fine
Setting aside large swaths of land for wildlife and eco-tourism is well-intentioned on the part of African governments. National parks bring in much-needed funds from tourists and help to protect precious ecosystems. But the new money often fails to benefit local indigenous people who have been living off that land for generations – ironically, forcing them to degrade the areas set aside for protection.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Study identifies 20 HE challenges
Karen MacGregor
A study of higher education in 15 countries of the Southern African Development Community, SADC, has identified 20 leadership challenges facing the region, governments and institutions. They range from improved data collection, access, student success, staffing and funding to policy and planning, capacity, infrastructure, private provision and quality. The challenges identified, says a just-published report, show the considerable amount of work needed to build a strong and sustainable higher education system across the region.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: New model for UK-US university collaboration
University leaders in the United Kingdom and United States have argued for a new model for UK-US collaboration to help the two countries retain their primacy in higher education in an increasingly competitive world. Their report Higher Education and Collaboration in Global Context: Building a global civil society – commissioned by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and published last week – suggests developing multilateral partnerships and bringing longstanding trans-Atlantic partnerships between the countries to bear in other nations.
Full report on the University World News site


GERMANY: Boosting development cooperation
Kristin Mosch talks to Dirk Messner, Director of the German Development Institute and Professor of Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, about development research in Germany. Messner is supporting the Excellence for Development competition as a reviewer. Since 2004, he has also been a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change and has been its Deputy Head since March.
Full report on the University World News site


From Cameron Nichol
I refer to the article, US: I'll never teach online again, by Elayne Clift and her statement that online teaching is not for her. Expecting a university lecturer, whose experience of teaching and learning is based on a traditional face-to-face lecture/tutorial model, to step in and teach online is like expecting your plumber to wire your house.
Full letter on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Surviving the ‘party school’ rankings
Summer means rankings season is upon us, writes Ben Eisen for Inside Higher Ed. Last week the Princeton Review unveiled its newest edition of the Best 371 Colleges in the US. Though the book has over 800 pages, one page in particular often sends university press relations staff into damage control mode – the top 20 ‘party school’ rankings, the winner of which this year is Pennsylvania State University.
More on the University World News site


University World News is produced by a team of top journalists who contribute their time largely for free because we believe in the project. But we need your support to continue. We are appealing to readers to spread the word about University World News as a valuable source of news and comment, and as an advertising vehicle. We also ask you to consider making a contribution via the Donate button on our newsletter and website, or by clicking here.


The Facebook group of University World News is the fastest growing in higher education worldwide. More than 1,000 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


UK: Preparing for swine flu worst-case scenario
Universities have started to stockpile disposable rubber gloves and soap powder in case there are multiple outbreaks of swine flu on campuses this September, reports Jessica Shepherd for The Guardian. University managers met last week to plan for the worst-case scenario of hundreds of students and staff off sick with the H1N1 virus at the start of the new term.
More on the University World News site

IRELAND: Brain drain fear as more Irish study abroad
A new brain drain could be looming for Ireland after new figures showed a sharp rise in the number of students going to college abroad, write Katherine Donnelly and Paddy Clancy for The Independent. A startling jump in the numbers of Irish undergraduates and postgraduates studying elsewhere in Europe was revealed in a new EU education report.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Growing numbers studying abroad
More students than ever before are leaving India to pursue higher education abroad, reports Rema Nagarajan for The Times of India. The number of these mobile students increased two-and-a-half times between 1975 and 2007 to reach 2.8 million. Two-thirds of the students make a beeline for six countries – the US, UK, France, Australia, Germany and Japan in that order.
More on the University World News site

JAPAN: Government fund to aid business innovation
Japan’s government set up a new investment fund last week with the aim of boosting the competitiveness of Japanese firms through the sharing of technologies and personnel among businesses and universities, reports The Japan Times. Innovation Network Corp of Japan, in which government holds a nearly 90% stake, will allow the government to provide risk money and revitalise industries amid the credit crunch following global financial turmoil.
More on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: Revamping the higher education system
A new policy framework is on the way to allow more private sector participation in higher education in Sri Lanka and to set up a separate body to oversee private and public institutions, reports Dilshani Samaraweera for The Sunday Times.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Funding system to drive research
Australia’s federal government will tie teaching and research performance funding to negotiated compacts to encourage distinctive university missions and focus research funding among the best performers, according to two new discussion papers, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian. The move to drive differentiation has largely been welcomed by the sector, but there are concerns over application of performance measures and the degree of government intervention.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Staff cuts to boost class size on campus
A wave of staff reductions at cash-strapped universities will mean larger classes and fewer services for students at campuses this September, writes Elizabeth Church for The Globe and Mail. The budget squeeze – the result of falling investment income and rising costs, especially for pensions – has left many universities scrambling to find millions of dollars in savings for the coming academic year.
More on the University World News site

US: Cut student services? Think again
The painful art of trimming a college or university budget – often with the goal of protecting core academic programmes while picking and choosing which support services to cut – may just have got a bit more difficult, reports Ben Eisen for Inside Higher Ed. A forthcoming Cornell working paper found that in certain instances, graduation and persistence rates are linked to greater expenditures on student services.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Universities join UN climate change network
Six universities from the US, UK, Spain and China have become the first academic institutions to come on board the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net) – an initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote global action to de-carbonise economies and societies.
More on the University World News site

THAILAND: US system to help raise university quality
An international standards assessment programme is to be trialled in Thailand’s leading higher education institutions soon in an effort to improve their quality, reports The Nation.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Boost for local AIDS research
A government initiative to boost local HIV-Aids research was launched in South Africa last week amid concerns about dwindling international funding for health research, reports PlusNews. South Africa has the highest burden of HIV infections in the world, and has become an important centre for AIDS research.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Funds no longer just for poor white girls
A multimillion-rand educational trust bequeathed by the industrialist and politician Sir Charles George Smith – for the benefit of “European girls born of British-South African or Dutch-South African parents” – will now benefit young women of all races, writes Tania Broughton for The Mercury. This is after the University of KwaZulu-Natal, which manages the trust, applied successfully to the High Court to amend Sir Charles’ will, saying the bequest was an “embarrassment” and could expose it to Equality Court proceedings.
More on the University World News site

ETHIOPIA: 10 new universities to be built soon
Ethiopia's Ministry of Education has announced that construction of 10 new universities will begin in different parts of the country in the near future, reports ENA.
More on the University World News site

JAPAN-BRAZIL: Joint distance teacher training course
A long-distance teacher training programme for Brazilian residents in Japan has been launched, reports The Mainichi Daily. Tokai University and Brazil’s Federal University of Mato Grosso jointly initiated the course to promote the acquisition of teaching certificates among teachers at the more than 80 Brazilian schools in Japan.
More on the University World News site
Copyright University World News 2007-2009