ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0012 31 August 2008
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The Association of African Universities has a new Secretary General. Our correspondent reports on the appointment of Goolam Mohamedbhai.

The struggle for power in Zimbabwe has taken a new twist - the ruling Zanu-PF party is forcing the enrolment in higher education institutions of its supporters, even if they do not meet entry requirements.

Should Egypt delay the start of its academic year because of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan? Debate over the issue is running hot.

AFRICA: News from across the continent

AFRICA: New head for African universities association
Karen MacGregor
The new Secretary General of the Association of African Universities, Professor Goolam Mohamedbhai, took up his post this month. His priorities include growing the AAU’s membership, strengthening its secretariat and collaborating with continental development bodies to drive a revival of African universities. This is no easy job – but one for which the former president of the International Association of Universities and University of Mauritius vice-chancellor is exceptionally well qualified.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Unqualified Mugabe supporters access HE
Clemence Manyukwe
Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party is forcing the admission of young supporters into higher education institutions even though they do not meet entry requirements. Students claim the party is using them to destabilise the student union movement by reporting on its activities.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Universities must open during holy month
Ashraf Khaled
Egyptian Minister of Education, Hany Helal, has caused a stir by opposing a suggestion that the new academic year be postponed until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Insisting that studies at universities and other education institutions begin on 20 September, Helal was quoted in the press as saying: “Postponing the academic year until the end of the [lunar] month of Ramadan would give a bad impression in the West that Muslims are lazy.”
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Controversy over university entrance system
Tunde Fatunde
University teachers and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) are once again at loggerheads over Nigeria’s reformed higher education admission policy. The board, which operates a competitive national entrance examination, is unhappy about universities being allowed to conduct their own admission exams – and has accused some of using the tests to make money.
Full report on the University World News site


SENEGAL: University students reluctant to leave campus
Students remaining at Senegal’s biggest university, Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, have finally left the campus after water and electricity supplies were cut off last week. They had been refusing to leave their accommodation at the end of an extended academic year, protesting that they had not received their grants.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Mugabe scraps student elections
Clemence Manyukwe
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is tightening his grip on the country’s institutions of higher learning by scrapping elections to choose student leaders. The Zimbabwe National Students Union, Zinasu, said authorities at Harare Polytechnic had done away with student representative council elections and imposed people they could manipulate.
Full report on the University World News site

TUNISIA: New agency to promote research and innovation
A new national agency to promote research and innovation in Tunisia was established in August, under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology, La Presse of Tunis reported.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: The real Shanghai Jiao Tong winners
John Gerritsen*
How many Americans does it take to produce a university? No, it's not an academic joke, it's a population-based analysis of the recently published 2008 Academic Ranking of World Universities by China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The study shows that while the US might have the most top 500 universities in the world, it is not the most efficient producer of such universities on a population basis. That title goes to Sweden and the analysis also demonstrates that Scandinavia in general is a veritable powerhouse of academic excellence given its population base.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH OSSETIA: Students seek refuge in Russian HE
Nick Holdsworth
Russian higher education authorities in Northern Ossetia are struggling to find university places for more than 1,000 students who fled the fighting in South Ossetia. The university students, 400 technical college students and 5,000 schoolchildren were among around 15,000 refugees from the war who have been officially registered in Northern Ossetia, the Russian republic that borders the Georgian separatist region of South Ossetia.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: Academics sign up to protest
Ard Jongsma
Danish academics are collecting signatures to convince Science Minister Helge Sander that opposition to the current education law is, in their words, “no sectarian craving from a dissatisfied minority…but has a broad basis of support among Danish students and researchers”.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Changing landscape of higher educatin
Subbiah Arunachalam
Ever since Pakistan came into being 61 years ago, the country has been going through turbulent times. But the past six years have seen a remarkable change in the landscape of higher education, a silent revolution as a World Bank report refers to it, largely thanks to the six-year old Higher Education Commission and its extraordinarily capable chairman Professor Atta-ur-Rahman, an internationally renowned organic chemist. Rahman’s goal is to democratise quality education without diluting excellence.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Inter-ethnic tensions touch universities
David Jardine
Malaysia’s complex inter-ethnic culture touches all areas of life, not least higher education. The latest manifestation is the controversy surrounding a call by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Chief Minister of the central state of Selangor, the country’s most populous, for the local Mara Technology University to open its roll to non-Malays and end its ethnically exclusive admissions policy. Graduates from Mara are favoured for entry into government departments.
Full report on the University World News site


AFRICA: Fundamental shift in educational approaches
Sheldon G Weeks
A fundamental shift away from basic assumptions in the way university researchers approach issues in educational development in Africa has occurred over the last two decades, according to members of the Southern African Comparative and History of Education Society. There is an increasing emphasis being placed on comparative studies, on historical and contextual factors, and on analyses that begin with the learner.
Full report on the University World News site


US: New Stanford study of dual-career academic couples
Dual-career issues are growing in importance in higher education in America. More than 70% of faculty are in dual-career relationships, and more than a third are partnered with another academic, according to a study just published by Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research. The publication, Dual-Career Academic Couples: What universities need to know, is based on a survey of full-time tenured and tenure-track academics at 13 leading US universities, as well as interviews with administrators at 18 universities. The lead author is Londa Schiebinger, director of the Clayman Institute and Professor of the History of Science. The report is freely available.
More on the University World News site


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INDIA: Poor pay discourages researchers
Increased job opportunities and fat pay packets for young graduates are turning out to be a bane for academic research in India. Alarm bells are ringing in higher education institutions over a sharp drop in the number of students enrolling as research scholars in recent years, reports The Times of India. According to the annual report of the Human Resources Development Ministry, during 2000-01 as many as 45,004 scholars were pursuing research in the country, but by 2005-06 the number had plummeted to 36,519.
More on the University World News site

US: More universities refuse participation in rankings
American universities have begun a rebellion against academic league tables. British universities should join them, writes Geoffrey Alderman in The Guardian. Annually since 1983, US News & World Report has published tables rankings American universities and degree-granting colleges. This year the really good news is not that Harvard has come top, displacing last year’s No 1 Princeton. It is that more US institutions than ever before have refused to take any part whatsoever in the survey.
More on the University World News site

US: Concern over dwindling male tertiary enrolment
For many colleges, dwindling male enrolment has become a source of some concern. But at Saint John’s University – an all-male Roman Catholic institution in Collegeville, Minnesota – recruiting men is a matter of survival, reports Inside Higher Ed. “We see it as a crisis, really, the lack of involvement of men,” said Gar Kellom, executive director of the Center for Men’s Leadership and Service at Saint John’s. “We’ve looked at all the data and said somebody’s got to do something.”
More on the University World News site

US: Universities try to control students off campus
Ah, life in the university district. Cheap ethnic food. Vibrant street life. Fresh-faced students whizzing by on bicycles. People who choose to live on the tree-lined streets surrounding institutions of higher learning often get a more vibrant experience than they expected – loud parties, run-down student boarding houses and trash generated by weekend melees, reports USA Today. But a growing number of universities are starting to take a more proactive approach to monitoring off-campus behaviour and neighbours say the efforts are working.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Funding for science research diverted
A multi-billion Rand plan to boost South Africa’s scientific research has taken a knock, after the Department of Science and Technology failed to secure R180-million (US$23 million) in funding for this year from the national treasury, reports the Mail & Guardian. Robin Drennan, the National Research Foundation’s executive director of grant management, said there had been “a massive delay” in the allocation of new research positions.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Huge campus HIV study underway
South Africa's universities have no idea how many of their students and staff are infected with HIV-AIDS – and this scares them, reports The Star. The 23 public universities believe that because they do not know how many of their students are affected by the virus, they do not know if the programmes they have in place to deal with the epidemic are adequate. Earlier this month, the Higher Education HIV-Aids Programme (HEAIDS) embarked on one of the biggest HIV prevalence studies ever undertaken in South Africa.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Parallel degree courses erode quality, critics say
The quality of education in public universities has been watered down by the introduction of parallel degree programmes, some leaders in the sector have warned and they are calling for urgent measures to stem further decay, reports the Nation. Prime Minister Raila Odinga was first to express concern, saying university education was so commercialised and that it was fast becoming a preserve of the rich.
More on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Teachers colleges lower entry requirements
Teacher training colleges have lowered the requirements for prospective student teachers to compensate for a sustained lack of interest in the profession, senior officials confirmed, reports the Zimbabwe Standard. This comes amid reports that 14,000 teachers have left the profession since January due to poor remuneration and deteriorating conditions of service.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Universities offer food aid to poor students
The rising cost of living is hitting some Australian students so hard that the universities have now resorted to handing out emergency food aid, reports ABC News. Student organisations say many students across the country are going hungry, and the Australian Catholic University in Sydney has set up a system where students can take food handouts anonymously.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Call for radical rise in university enrolment
Participation in higher education should be radically expanded by the Scottish Government to allow up to 66% of school-leavers to go to university or college by 2028, according to the new convener of the vice-chancellors body Universities Scotland, Professor Anton Muscatelli. Currently, 47% of young Scots pursue further studies after leaving school, but the proportion has been dropping since 2000, when it reached a peak of 51%, reports The Herald.
More on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: Academic Manager: AIMS Schools Enrichment Centre (AIMSSEC)
Stellenbosch University, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
Full specifications on the University World News site
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