ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0093 20 September 2009
Support University World News - Click here to donate

HE Events Diary

Opportunities Jobs


Higher Education Marketing

Professor Philip G Altbach of Boston College, US, argues that a new understanding of academic freedom is needed. See the Academic Freedom section.

The Sorbonne, founded in 1253. Three-quarters of a millennium later, Paris is once again preparing for its annual student invasion. See our news section.

Tree polution: a new hazard? See our Science Scene section.


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

GERMANY: Government under fire for low OECD marks
Michael Gardner
The German government has come under fire from the country’s education and science union for another poor showing in the OECD’s annual Education at a Glance report. The report shows concern that Germany is not turning out enough graduates, a factor that could prove crucial in efforts to recover from the present economic crisis.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Increasing student aid does little to boost graduation
Philip Fine
Increasing student grants seems to offer governments a means of attracting more students to university but it does little to help increase the numbers who graduate, according to a just-released Canadian study.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Paris prepares for annual student invasion
Jane Marshall
As the new academic year approaches, the student support agencies of Paris are preparing for the annual influx of international students to Europe’s biggest university town – where more than one in five students are from abroad.
Full report on the University World News site

US: New growth in domestic graduate student enrolment
Sarah King Head
For the first time in four years, the growth in domestic graduate students enrolling in higher education was higher than for international students. It was also the highest growth rate since 2002. According to a new study, 4.7% more American students entered the graduate sector between 2007 and 2008, compared with a 3.3% increase in international students – reversing a trend that had seen international student enrolments growing at a greater rate than those of domestic students since 2004.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Universities hit by widespread strikes
Geoff Maslen
Australia’s main higher education union called a 24-hour strike last Wednesday at 16 universities across the nation as part of a campaign to obtain improved conditions, including salary rises of up to 6%.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Universities raise student levies
Rory MacKinnon
Restricted by government limits on their course fees, New Zealand's universities are looking to increase their income from another source – student service levies.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: University satellite launched
Alison Moodie
South Africa’s horizons in space were expanded last week with the launch of the country’s second – and government’s first – satellite. SumbandilaSat took off from Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz rocket. It was designed and developed by staff and students in the engineering faculty at Stellenbosch University, and among other things will be used for experiments.
Full report on the University World News site

IRELAND: Maternity leave 'cover' for academics curtailed
John Walshe
Irish academics who go on maternity leave will not be replaced, unless there are exceptional circumstances and then only with prior approval. The restriction emerged last week as a government moratorium on appointments across the public sector began to bite in academe.
Full report on the University World News site




SINGAPORE: Open University aids migrant workers
David Jardine
An imaginative and heartening move by Singapore’s Open University is opening educational windows of opportunity for some of the country’s migrant labour force. In collaboration with the Indonesian Embassy, the OU is offering pre-degree tuition and four bachelor degree courses to Indonesian domestic workers – a female cohort that often makes the headlines in the city-state for all the wrong reasons.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Good practice guide for colleges
The federal government has published a good practice guide with details of the best performing international college providers in an effort to improve Australia’s reputation for offering quality education to foreign students.
Full report on the University World News site




GLOBAL: Academic Freedom: A realistic appraisal
Philip G Altbach
Everyone seems to favour academic freedom. Indeed, if university leaders or ministers of education were asked, they would claim that this privilege is universally practiced. Yet problems concerning academic freedom exist almost everywhere – created by changing academic realities, political pressures, growing commerc ialisation and marketisation of higher education, or legal pressures. Academic freedom needs to be carefully defined so that it can be defended in the global climate of complexity. A new, and probably more delimited, understanding of academic freedom is needed in the age of the internet and the global knowledge economy.
First published in International Higher Education
Full article on the University World News site

US: Neve Gordon’s academic freedom
It’s not easy to find a country in the Middle East whose universities honour academic freedom as it is known in most Western countries, comments Cary Nelson, President of the American Association of University Professors, in Inside Higher Ed. Syria is a police state. Iran has substantially become one. Egypt’s security police maintain a chilling presence on campus. The one country that maintains academic freedom is Israel, though of course not in the occupied territories. But the dynamic of debate in the Israeli academy has suddenly changed, and part of the debate is now being conducted in American venues.
More on the University World News site

CROATIA: Conference boycott urged over ‘plagiarist’ chair
Jonathan Travis*
A group of academics is calling on participants to boycott a forthcoming conference in Croatia after it emerged that the chair has a proven history of scientific misconduct, the Times Higher Education has reported.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site


US: Tree and industry gases a dangerous mix
Keith Nuthall
Environmentalists love trees. After all, they pump oxygen into the atmosphere and the rain forest is hailed as the planet’s lungs. But American scientists are warning that gases emitted by plants can mix with industrial pollution and create a very unhealthy aerosol – one we breathe that can make us sick.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Young researchers must work with companies
Jan Petter Myklebust
A key EU programme for training young researchers now requires private sector involvement and also calls for recognition of training in non-academic institutions.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: International stem-cell surgery surprise
Jan Petter Myklebust
Researchers at a conference in Sweden nearly fell off their chairs earlier this month when a Spanish scientist described stem cell-supported surgery that saw a woman’s cancerous trachea removed, operated on in another country, and then restored to her.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: A new Lisbon by another name?
David Haworth
A revival of the European Union’s much-lauded but also much-mocked “Lisbon Process” originally launched in 2000 is to be pressed forward by Sweden as president of the EU before the year's end. As before, the aims are ambitious and touch all the right buttons for economic growth in today’s world – science, technology and innovation. But big changes are looming and some academics think the whole approach may be misguided.
Full report on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Top academic supported militarism – book
David Jardine
An Australian academic’s book about Indonesia’s military reveals the alleged role of a leading academic and university rector in spinning history in favour of militarism and the dictatorship. Nugroho Notosusanto, one-time rector of the University of Indonesia and Minister of Education under Suharto, is the subject.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: What defines an international student?
The mobility of students and academics across borders has become big business in recent years, and authorities in receiving countries have become increasingly efficient in tracking and reporting the data surrounding their education-export industries, writes Nick Clark, editor of World Education News & Reviews. Yet, the comparison of international enrolment statistics is somewhat problematic as national agencies collect data in different ways and according to different definitions. This makes statistical comparisons difficult and often inaccurate or misleading.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Professor fired over sexual harassment
A professor who pointed out that his college’s s exual harassment policy contained no protection for someone who was falsely accused was later fired – for s exual harassment.
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.


The Facebook group of University World News is the fastest growing in higher education worldwide. More than 1,100 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


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.


SOUTH KOREA: R&D spending jumped 10% last year
South Korea spent about 34.5 trillion won (US$28 billion) last year on research and development, up 10.2% from the previous year, government data showed last week, reports The Korea Herald. R&D spending now accounts for 3.37% of gross domestic product, placing South Korea sixth among 30 OECD member states.
More on the University World News site

US: Top universities launch science news service
Concerned that journalism’s economic problems are reducing Americans’ understanding of science, medicine and other research, 35 of the nation’s top universities – including Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley – last week announced that they will feed their own accounts of discoveries directly to top news sites on the internet, writes Paul Rogers for the Mercury News.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: 50 foreign universities may want in
As the Indian government prepares to allow entry of foreign education providers in the higher education sector, about 50 foreign universities – mostly from the US, UK and Australia – have expressed interest in setting up campuses in the country, writes Pallavi Singh for LiveMint & The Wall Street Journal. The universities have approached the Ministry of Human Resource Development in the last three months, a senior official said.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Grants commission opposes reforms
Three months after the Yashpal Committee report and as the Indian government moves to create a National Commission for Higher Education and Research, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has said the Yashpal recommendations “do not appear to be in accordance with the thinking of the framers of our Constitution”, reports Akshaya Mukul for The Times of India.
More on the University World News site

UK: Higher education funding quangos under scrutiny
A review of all higher education funding agencies was formally announced last week by Lord Mandelson, the UK’s First Secretary, reports Melanie Newman for Times Higher Education. In a speech at the London School of Economics, Lord Mandelson said the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is responsible for universities, would “play its part” in public-sector reform.
More on the University World News site

ENGLAND: 50,000 students in loan delays
Up to 50,000 students in England face starting university this month without all the grants and loans they expected, writes Angela Harrison for BBC News. The Student Loans Company has struggled to cope with applications and says full payments will be made by late October. But it now says everyone who applied on time should receive at least the ‘basic level’ loan soon after courses start.
More on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: New high-tech university needs autonomy
Saudi Arabia is launching its first co-educational high-tech university, but unless clerical influence is removed the state education system will not move into the modern age, analysts say, writes Ulf Laessing for Reuters. King Abdullah has invited heads of state, business leaders and Nobel laureates to the impending opening of a technology university which has attracted top scientists and is meant to produce Saudi scientists and engineers.
More on the University World News site

US: Steep hill to climb
There is widespread alignment among politicians, many policy experts and foundations that support higher education that the United States must drastically increase the proportion of Americans who enrol in and complete college – now a centrepiece of the Obama administration's agenda – writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed. Without significant intervention, a federal study released last week suggests, that common goal will be way out of reach.
More on the University World News site

US: Virtual revolution brewing for colleges
Students starting school this year may be part of the last generation for which ‘going to college’ means packing up, getting a dorm room and listening to tenured professors, writes Zephyr Teachout for The Washington Post. Undergraduate education is on the verge of a radical reordering. Colleges, like newspapers, will be torn apart by new ways of sharing information enabled by the internet. The business model that sustained private US colleges cannot survive.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: International students must be qualified
Private universities and colleges have been asked to enrol only qualified international students to avoid being branded as diploma or degree mills, writes Richard Lim for AsiaOne. Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the country should not be a dumping ground for students who could not achieve places elsewhere, and institutions of higher learning should upgrade their academic management systems.
More on the University World News site

EGYPT: Swine flu fear closes foreign universities
Egypt has ordered foreign universities and schools to close until 3 October over worries about swine flu, a Health Ministry official said last week, reports AFP. Egyptian universities and schools were due to re-open in the last week of September, but foreign institutions started earlier this month. The government decided to delay the academic year by a week.
More on the University World News site

US: Student finds precious gem at Israeli dig
A 2,300-year-old gemstone delicately carved with a portrait of Alexander the Great was discovered by a University of Washington student on an archaeological dig in Israel, a professor at the school says, reports The Seattle Times.
More on the University World News site
Copyright University World News 2007-2009