ISSN 1756-297XIssue No: 0094 27 September 2009
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Fewer US students are going abroad to study since the global economic crisis, our correspondent reports.

Iceland's public universities should consider introducing tuition fees, the OECD recommends. See the story in our News section.

Concern about the swine flu virus is prompting Egypt's universities to move to distance education in order to reduce transmission of the disease. See the story in our Africa 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

US: Economic crisis slashes US study abroad enrolments
A survey conducted by the Forum on Education Abroad and published this month has shown that one year since the onset of the current global economic crisis, fewer American students are traveling abroad to study. The meltdown has had a negative impact on the education abroad programmes of 66% of 165 organisations that participated in the survey.
Full report on the University World News site

ICELAND: OECD recovery package urges tuition fees
David Jobbins
The OECD has reinforced its advice to Iceland to consider seriously the introduction of tuition fees at public universities as the country struggles to emerge from economic meltdown.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Universities wrangle over fees call from business
David Jobbins
A call from the UK’s business leaders for higher tuition fees, commercial interest rates on loans and a halt to higher education expansion threatens to fracture the fragile coalition of the country’s 130 vice-chancellors.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Fees for foreign students possible from 2010
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Swedish Government is discussing how and when to introduce tuition fees for students from outside the European Union. Application fees for international students could be charged from next year, and tuition fees of up to SEK80,000 (€8,500 or US$11,500) from 2011.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Election dispute over numbers
Makki Marseilles
The government and official opposition in Greece are outbidding each other over future spending on education in the run-up to the general election on 4 October. Party managers are engaged in a relentless battle to convince the electorate of the wisdom of their policies – but the numbers are merciless.
Full report on the University World News site

IRELAND: No voluntary pay cut for university leaders
John Walshe
Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe has criticised Ireland’s seven university heads – who earn up to EUR270,000 (nearly US$400,000) a year – for not taking a voluntary pay cut. He said he was disappointed with their response to a request first made six months ago when he urged them in a radio interview to “show the way” by volunteering to take a salary reduction.
Full report on the University World News site

FINLAND: Tax officials capitalise on university reform
Ian Dobson*
The Finnish Parliament passed a new University Act in July, to come into force from 1 January 2010. The key aims of the reform include freeing up the system and preparing the scene for an ‘entrepreneurial culture’. Most aspects of the reform have been widely supported – but no one reckoned with taxation bureaucrats from the Ministry of Finance.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Knowledge hub in progress
Wagdy Sawahel
Malaysia is developing an education city that it hopes will be partially operational by 2013. Located in Nusajaya, Iskandar Malaysia, the 129-hectare EduCity could eventually have eight universities, each with one spec ialised faculty, developed in two phases under a 10-year plan.
Full report on the University World News site

SYRIA: University-industry alliance to be established
Wagdy Sawahel
Syria is to establish a new fund to support priority research, a university-industry alliance and an observatory for monitoring science progress, as part of its efforts to promote the development of an innovation-based economy through higher education reform.
Full report on the University World News site




AFRICA: New initiative to strengthen research
Dave Buchere
The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), based in Kenya, has received a grant of 420 million Kenyan shillings (US$5.65million) to strengthen research capacity in African universities. The funding under the African Institutions Initiative, from the UK’s Wellcome Trust, aims to foster the development of vibrant research hubs at African universities through a collaborative doctoral training model in public health and population studies.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Swine flu prompts shift to distance learning
Ashraf Khaled
With the new academic year set to begin on 3 October, Egyptian universities are planning a shift to distance learning in an effort to prevent the spread of the swine flu virus on campuses. Television and the internet will be used extensively to broadcast lectures to students in many of the country’s 35 public and private universities, officials said.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Government acts to avert lecturer strike
Dave Buchere
Kenya’s government has set aside two billion Shillings (US$26.3 million) for public lecturers’ salaries in a bid to forestall a planned strike – at all of the country’s seven state universities – over a delay in implementing a 15% salary increase.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Shift toward private universities
Tunde Fatunde
The eight-week trade union strike in Nigeria’s public universities has compromised the early conduct of entrance examinations for the next academic session, which starts in a few weeks. Private universities, which do not allow trade unionism, have experienced a dramatic increase in the number of candidates applying for admission. But only students from middle and upper class families who can afford the high fees are applying – including the children of staff in strike-crippled public universities.
Full report on the University World News site

NAMIBIA: Free ICT courses for civil servants
Moses Magadza
The University of Namibia and Polytechnic of Namibia are partnering with the government to offer free computer literacy courses to civil servants, as the country gears up for greater participation in a knowledge-based global economy. With 75,000 people on its payroll the government, which is funding the initiative, is the biggest employer in this country of two million people.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Disruptive student protests suspended
Munyaradzi Makoni
Students at the universities of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and Pretoria in South Africa staged a series of demonstrations this month. At Wits students were opposing plans to increase fees, and at Pretoria the call was for political party representation in the students’ representative council. At both universities the protests were anything but peaceful.
Full report on the University World News site

ZAMBIA: Copperbelt expels nine student leaders
The senate of Zambia’s Copperbelt University has expelled nine student leaders following violent protests that rocked the institution last month. Students there and at the University of Zambia embarked on demonstrations after the prosecuting authority indicated in July that it would not charge policemen who have shot three students since last year.
Full report on the University World News site


SENEGAL: Stormy run-up to UCAD’s new academic year
Tension was high at Senegal’s University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) during the run-up to the new academic year, with widespread discontent among the 1,500 lecturers – many of whom were owed payments from last year – reported Wal Fadjri of Dakar. The paper also said a freeze on staff recruitment at the university was leading to an ageing teaching body.
Full report on the University World News site

MADAGASCAR: Universities to introduce Bologna
The Madagascan Ministry for Higher Education is preparing to start introducing the Bologna process in its universities in the new academic year, reported L’Express de Madagascar of Antananarivo. But at least one university president does not believe the schedule is realistic.
Full report on the University World News site




EUROPE: New EU funds for non-animal testing
Leah Germain
A substantial fund of EUR50 million (US$74 million) is being offered to European research teams to develop alternatives to animal testing for cosmetics and related industries.
Full report on the University World News site

NORTHERN IRELAND: New food safety centre launched
Emma Jackson
A ground-breaking food safety centre will open at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, this month to help local agri-food industries fight for shares of global food markets by underpinning their reputation for high health standards.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA-CHINA: Research harnesses the sun
Emma Jackson
Solar panels have been notoriously expensive, but they could become more affordable because of a partnership between the Australian National University (ANU) and Chinese scientists to create efficient, inexpensive solar cells for commercial use.
Full report on University World News website

AUSTRALIA: Polymer nanofibres find strength in carbon
Emma Jackson
Researchers at Australia’s Deakin University have found a way to strengthen plastic nanofibres, using carbon nanotubes to make them up to 400% stronger than before and possibly leading to new commercial applications.
Full report on University World News website


GLOBAL: International students: a $100 billion business?
Alan Ruby*
“It is good for the economy” has been one of the public policy mantras for supporting the inflow of international students since the 1980s. Sure, there were lots of other reasons. At the national level, international students were important strategically and diplomatically – fostering global engagement and cross cultural understanding, promoting freedom and democracy and easing tensions between neighbouring countries.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Improving student retention
As a key performance indicator in university quality assurance processes, the retention of students in their studies is an issue of concern worldwide. Implicit in the process of quality assurance is quality improvement. In an article titled “Improving student retention in higher education”, published in the latest edition of Australian Universities’ Review, authors Glenda Crosling, Margaret Heagney and Liz Thomas examine student retention from a teaching and learning perspective, in terms of approaches that have an impact on students’ decisions to continue with or withdraw from their studies. Ways are discussed in which student engagement can be facilitated through teaching and learning programmes.
Full article on the University World News site

EUROPE: Quality assurance makes significant headway
In its first report on progress in quality assurance in higher education, the European Commission has pointed to significant developments towards greater transparency and credibility over the past few years. Progress has not only been made in the way universities deal internally with quality assurance, but also on external evaluation of institutions and programmes. Many new national quality assurance agencies have been established and there is increased awareness of European standards and guidelines on quality assurance.
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

UK: ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees face funding battle
UK university departments offering so-called ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees in subjects such as surf science, golf management and winemaking may face a greater battle for public money under proposals published by funding chiefs on Wednesday, reports Reuters.
More on the University World News site

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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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EUROPE: EU commissioner set to quit
EU commissioner Jan Figel is expected to formally resign after he was elected leader of an opposition party in his native Slovakia, writes Martin Banks for The Parliament. He could hand in his resignation letter to commission president Jose Manuel Barroso after his election last weekend as leader of Slovakia's Christian Democratic Movement.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Home-grown rankings gain support
Support is growing across Australia’s higher education sector for an independent national university ranking system that would be more comprehensive than the Shanghai Jiao Tong survey of world universities, writes Andrew Trounson for The Australian. A national ranking would complement new performance indicators being developed by the federal government.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Chinese students to be allowed next September
Taiwan is likely to allow Chinese students to attend its universities from September 2010, a few months later than expected, Deputy Minister of Education Lin Tsong-ming said last weekend, reports the Central News Agency.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Asian universities court students nearby
Attending a university overseas has long been an aspiration for many Chinese, writes Liz Gooch for The New York Times. “My father said: ‘Why do you want to stay in China? Open your mind, look at the world,’” said Bao Qianqian, a 25-year-old woman from the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo. The predictable choices for her might have been Australia and Britain, where her two sisters have studied. But Bao decided on a destination that would keep her closer to home and cost substantially less, while giving her the chance to improve her English and converse with Chinese speakers. She chose Malaysia, where she is a third-year business student at HELP University College.
More on the University World News site

US: Simpler student aid process opens access for poor
More low-income students would make it to college in America if changes were made to streamline the complicated financial aid process, according to a ground-breaking study released last week by researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Stanford University School of Education, University of Toronto and National Bureau of Economic Research, reports ScienceDaily.
More on the University World News site

US: Open letter on open access
The presidents of 57 liberal arts colleges released an open letter on Tuesday endorsing the Federal Research Access Act of 2009, a bill aimed at increasing public access to academic research that is funded by the federal government, writes Steve Kolowich for Inside Higher Ed. The bill would require certain federal agencies – those that fund more than $100 million in extramural research annually – to require peer-reviewed journals that publish that research to make it available for free on the web after six months.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Universities running out of housing
Several South African universities are struggling to find sufficient residence accommodation for students and are conceding that the situation has reached crisis levels, reports Monako Dibetle for the Mail & Guardian. They are appealing to the Department of Higher Education and Training for assistance, as they believe this problem affects students’ academic performance.
More on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: Elite science and technology university opens
Saudi Arabia has dug into its oil-fuelled coffers to set up a new research university, a multi-billion dollar coed venture built on the promise of scientific freedom in a region where a conservative interpretation of Islam has often been blamed for stifling innovation, reports Tarek El-Tablawy for Associated Press.
More on the University World News site

ALBANIA: Students flocking to private universities
As students in Albania head back to universities, statistics show that more of them are choosing private institutions, reports Manjola Hala for the Southeast European Times.
More on the University World News site

PHILIPPINES: Six law schools to be closed
The Commission on Higher Education in the Philippines has decided to close down six law schools across the country because not one of their graduates has passed the bar exams in the last 10 years, commission chairman Emmanuel Angeles said last week, reports Philip Tubeza for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
More on the University World News site

THAILAND: Rankings or assessments?
The recent hoopla over university ‘rankings’ was ill-conceived because the focus should have been on self-improvement, not which university was better than another, writes Vasu Thirasak for the Bankok Post.
More on the University World News site
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