ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0013 14 September 2008
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There are three students on Canada's new Zimbabwe targeted sanctions list. One is Gamuchirai Chinamasa (left), daughter of Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa. See the Africa section. Credit: The Zimbabwe Daily.

A European University Association conference will discuss problems caused to higher education by Europe's declining population. See the News section. iStock

Collaboration between Indian and Chinese scientists is gradually growing South-South scientific cooperation. See News. iStock

University of Cape Town
A study by the Council on Higher Education has warned that the South African government's steering of universities may be eroding institutional autonomy and academic freedom. See the Africa News section.

AFRICA: News from across the continent

ZIMBABWE: Economic crisis keeps universities closed
Clemence Manyukwe
Zimbabwe’s public universities have failed to re-open due to an escalating economic crisis, student unions have confirmed. Most universities were supposed to open last month or early this month, but lecturers have either gone on strike or there are no funds for operations.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Report warns of freedom inroads
Karen MacGregor
An exhaustive probe into institutional autonomy and academic freedom by a task team of South Africa’s advisory Council on Higher Education has found that government’s steering of universities has “grown more directive, less consultative, and occasionally prone to hierarchical decree”. It proposes a range of actions including greater commitment on the part of the government to negotiating with universities on planning and funding.
Full report on the University World News site

N IGERIA: Polytechnics and colleges to award degrees
Tunde Fatunde
Selected polytechnics and colleges of education will soon be upgraded to award university degrees, N igerian Minister of State for Education Hajiya Aishatu Dukku has announced. Dukku said adequate funds would be made available to employ university-level teachers and upgrade infrastructure at the institutions. One of the main objectives of the reform is to create additional avenues for would-be students in a country where hundreds of thousands of qualified school-leavers are unable to clinch university places each year.
Full report on the University World News site

ZAMBIA: Third public university opens
Clemence Manyukwe
Zambia’s third public degree-awarding university began admitting its first intake of students last week. The new institution, established earlier this year after the National College for Management and Development Studies in Kabwe was converted into Mulungushi University, should help to ease congestion at the country’s other two state-owned institutions of higher learning, the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Race debacle vc resigns
Karen MacGregor
Six months after a racist video showing white Afrikaner students abusing cleaners at the University of the Free State hit the headlines and prompted international outrage, the vice-chancellor has resigned. Professor Frederick Fourie said stress caused by political divisions and tensions in the university council and community had been “extremely draining” and he was stepping down “in the interest of transformation” and development at the university.
Full report on the University World News site


BURKINA FASO: Ouagadougou University reopens
A two-month crisis at the University of Ouagadougou is over, with students resuming their courses this month following concessions by the authorities to some of their demands. The campus was abruptly closed in June, after violent clashes between police and protesting students (see University World News, 20 July 2008).
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Three students targeted for sanctions
Canada has slapped targeted sanctions on three Zimbabwean university students whose parents are accused of propping up the regime of dictatorial President Robert Mugabe. They are the first students to appear on a Canada list that now features some 180 politicians, entities and officials, spouses and children targeted for travel restrictions and an assets freeze.
Full report on the University World News site

DR CONGO: New technology university opens
A new university spec ialising in technology, the Université de Technologie du Congo, has opened in the Kinshasa suburb of Limete, Le Potentiel of Kinshasa reported. The establishment, officially opened on 1 September, will provide initial and continuing engineering courses in science and technology, together with studies in human and social sciences.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Teaching maths and science in English
Teachers in Malaysia are learning the nuances of teaching mathematics and science in English under a multi-million dollar project run by the Malaysian government and Melbourne’s Deakin University. The four-year initiative, now into its third year, follows a decision by the government that all science and maths teaching will be in English.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Network of Concerned Historians
The Annual Report 2008 of the Network of Concerned Historians is now available at This is the 14th annual report of the NCH and it contains 84 pages of news about where history and human rights intersect. It reports on the censorship of history, the persecution of historians around the globe, and related topics. It is sent to 880 historians and others interested, in more than 80 countries.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

EUROPE: Impact of sharp population decline
Keith Nuthall
European academics are preparing to gather at a high-level conference to discuss the problems caused to higher education by a sharp decline in the European population. The debates at the European University Association conference come as the latest figures from the European Union statistical agency Eurostat confirm the number of young people in European countries is already shrinking and will get smaller.
Full report on the University World News site

SPAIN: Student numbers holding despite population fall
Rebecca Warden
Spain has seen a big drop in the number of young people over the past 10 years but predictions this would lead to a shrinking student population have proved inaccurate. More people staying on at school and new kinds of degrees at universities have helped to boost the proportion of Spaniards in higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Higher education expanding rapidly
Diane Spencer
The higher education sector has expanded rapidly worldwide over the past decade, says the latest annual report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Education at a Glance 2008 shows that 37% of school-leavers went to university in 1995 whereas 57% on average now do in the 30 member countries of the OECD. In Australia, Finland, Iceland, Poland and Sweden, three out of four school-leavers go on to a degree course. The 500-page report also shows that public expenditure on higher education has increased but that private investment has risen even more.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: OECD statistics cause for concern
Michael Gardner
German first-year student numbers appear to be stagnating, according to OECD statistics. The country is also performing poorly in terms of graduation figures, says the organisation’s Education at a Glance 2008 report released last week. President of the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK – the conference of higher education heads in Germany), Professor Margret Wintermantel, is worried that Germany is increasingly lagging behind other countries and has called for more funding for higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Film boosts language learning
Nick Holdsworth
A consortium of British universities is forging a cinematic path to encourage the take-up of foreign language study. Routes into Languages is a three-year project jointly funded by Britain’s Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Higher Education Funding Council for England. It works with regional groups of universities committed to boosting the number of young people studying foreign languages.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Computer estimates a person’s age
Geoff Maslen
As Professor Kate Smith-Miles walked into the room, her five-year-old daughter turned from the computer and asked what the password was to log on to the online dating agency she had called up on the screen. The little girl had gone to Google, typed in “I want a friend” and the computer responded with a 10,000 or so list of adult sites.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA-INDIA: Scientists forge closer ties
Indian and Chinese scientists are increasingly working together but it might take a few years before it becomes significant or sets the pace for South-South scientific collaboration. Until 2003, only a small percentage – around three-fourths of one per cent – of Indian papers were written in collaboration with Chinese authors, according to a report of a study published by Chennai-based Subbiah Arunachalam and IIT-Madras' R Viswanathan.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Should researchers take tobacco money?
Alan Osborn
Are universities ever right to accept money from the tobacco industry for research or is it always tainted somehow? The issue has been around for decades but a recent spat in America has given it a new airing.
Full report on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: A better way to cut up the pie
Malegapuru Makgoba
South Africa has 23 universities with different histories, different capacities, different resources, and different visions and missions. One would think this rich diversity would be used as a strength to promote excellence and global competitiveness. But the country continues to pretend that its universities are the same and therefore treats them the same, without differentiating, focusing and providing resources each to its comparative and competitive advantages. This failure to differentiate, and the continuation of functioning contrary to and denying factual evidence, characterises much of present-day South Africa and has led to a decline in academic productivity, new knowledge production and innovation relative to the rest of the world.
Full report on the University World News site
Article first published in The Sunday Times, Johannesburg

AUSTRALIA: Plagiarism among foreign students
Plagiarism is an issue facing many universities. It is of particular concern in Australia, given the large number of overseas students studying in the country or offshore on Australian programmes such as in China and India, writes Helen Song-Turner of the School of Business, University of Ballarat, in the latest issue of Australian Universities Review. Students from various countries were interviewed to identify their views on plagiarism in a study that unearthed several reasons why students tend to plagiarise, including challenges of language, skill and respect for ‘the foreign expert’. What emerges, Song-Turner reveals, “is a complex and at times confusing web of perceptions and attitudes towards plagiarism. These pose a significant set of challenges for foreign universities developing and delivering programmes in a range of markets, particularly in locations such as Australia, where the importance and value of attracting, supporting – and, indeed, understanding – foreign students, has tended to underpin many university marketing efforts”. Hers and other articles, including a critique on university rankings, are available on the Australian Universities Review site.
More on the University World New site


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UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Berkeley tree-sitters end two-year protest
Four tree-sitters who had hoped to save a grove of trees at the University of California, Berkeley, ended their long-running protest last week and gave up their perch at the top of a 90-foot redwood after workers erected a scaffold to bring them down, reports the Los Angeles Times. Protesters had occupied trees in the 1.5-acre grove since December 2006 in an effort to block the university’s plans to build on the site.
More on the University World News site


UK: University role is not social justice: Cambridge
Universities should not be expected to promote social justice, the vice-chancellor of Cambridge has said, igniting a debate over the role of universities, reports The Telegraph. Professor Alison Richard said the growing stature of universities in Britain had “encouraged meddling” from the government, which was putting academic standards at risk.
More on the University World News site

US: Bayh-Dole patent act under scrutiny
The law of unintended consequences is perhaps less a ‘law’ than a simple statement of fact: we cannot accurately predict all the results of our actions, writes Anet Rae-Dupree in the New York Times. We may do something with the best of intentions, and sometimes even accomplish the good toward which we aim. Yet, at the same time, we are all too often surprised by results that didn’t occur to us beforehand. The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 (aka the University Small Business Patent Procedures Act) started out with the best of intentions – but now it is under scrutiny by swelling ranks of critics.
More on the University World News site

US: Kent State faculty get bonuses to meet goals
Kent State University is offering financial bonuses to professors if they help student retention numbers and attract more research dollars, an incentive usually given to school presidents and top administrators, reports Associated Press.
More on the University World News site

US: Diverse medical schools = stronger doctors
Medical students who attend racially and ethnically diverse medical schools say they are better equipped to care for patients in a diverse society, reports a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Led by the University of California, Los Angeles, Higher Education Research Institute, the research is the first to examine the link between medical school diversity and educational benefits, reports Science Daily.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Universities must produce 20,000 PhDs
When Vietnam released its seventh draft outlining national strategies to develop the country’s education from 2008 to 2020 at an August conference in Hanoi, some experts said the plan was simply a wish list, reports Thanh Nien Daily. Among the 11 solution packages to boost the education system in the next decade, two goals aim to make Vietnam’s higher education more internationally competitive – to produce 20,000 doctorates, and to have at least 30% of university academics PhD graduates in 2020.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Academics in freedom rally
A national campaign to promote academic freedom was launched last week, with the academics’ union calling on universities and vice-chancellors to stand by their staff and protect the vital role they play in public commentary, reports The Age.
More on the University World News site

N IGERIA: Nearly three dozen universities illegal
The National Universities Commission recently announced the existence of 33 illegal universities in N igeria, reports Punch. In May, the NUC had declared 16 of these institutions illegal and warned people against patronising them. Also declared illegal were unlicensed satellite campuses, outreach campuses and study centres countrywide. The universities’ regulatory body further stated that it had not approved any offshore universities, and that five owners of such institutions had been arrested and were being prosecuted to dissuade others.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Intellectual property laws being drafted
The Department of Science and Technology is drafting legislation that will encourage the development of local intellectual property by providing public funding, reports ITWeb. The legislation will also ensure the country and innovators will benefit from intellectual property being developed into commercial products.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: Minister calls for more education funding
Higher Education Minister Gabriel Opio has called for more investment in higher education, saying it plays a vital role in development, reports New Vision. “The way forward is to accept that higher education is critical to our future. Therefore, it should be made a major area of national investment,” he said.
More on the University World News site

WALES: Shame on high-tech university cheats
Around 1,600 students have been caught cheating at Welsh universities in the last three years, a new study has revealed, reports Western Mail. The majority were found guilty of plagiarism while dozens of others were caught cheating in the exam hall.
More on the University World News site

UK: University test fails to help poorer pupils
A US-style intelligence test seen by government advisers as helping disadvantaged youngsters get into university actually favours white boys from grammar schools, research has found, reports The Independent.
More on the University World News site

UK: Further education students less satisfied
Students at further education colleges are less satisfied with their courses than their university counterparts, research has suggested, reports The Press Association. More than half (58%) of students at further education colleges said their courses were well organised and running smoothly, compared with 71% of those at university, the annual National Student survey showed.
More on the University World News site
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