ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0022 08 February 2009
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Three South African universities have been hit by student and staff protests this week. Photo: The Witness.

Mugabe’s daughter Bona to stay at Hong Kong University.

Egyptian women have set their sights on the latest bastion of male dominance on campus – the university president.

AFRICA: News from across the continent

BOTSWANA: National university closed until further notice
Special correspondent
The University of Botswana has been closed down half way through the second semester by the Minister of Education and Skills Development, Jacob Nkate. The Minister exercised his authority under the university act last Wednesday following days of sometimes violent student demonstrations. All students were requested to leave the main campus in the capital Gaborone by noon that day, with the evacuation supervised by the paramilitary Special Support Group.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Universities hit by protests, strikes
Karen MacGregor
Three universities in South Africa were hit by protests and strikes last week. Some turned violent, leading to arrests, injuries and damage to property. Education Minister Naledi Pandor “is seriously concerned about the disruptions and has asked universities to try to resolve the difficulties at the start of every year,” her spokesman told University World News.
Full report on the University World News site

LIBYA: African brain drain worsens
Jane Marshall
The African brain drain is reaching disquieting proportions and threatening development in sectors such as health, the economy and education, a conference in Tripoli of the Association of African Universities has heard.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCOPHONE AFRICA: Underfunded and overcrowded
The universities of the 20 sub-Saharan French-speaking countries of Africa enrolled 400,000 students in 2005 but will have to cater for two million in 2015, said the French newspaper Le Monde. Meanwhile, at the University of Ziguinchor in Senegal, the rector warned against over-expansion of student numbers as the university, with the capacity for an intake of 700 new students, faced demands from 2,700 newly qualified school-leavers.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Women eye top university post
Ashraf Khaled
Apparently encouraged by recent gains in occupying typical male positions, Egyptian women have set their sights on the latest bastion of male dominance on campus – the university president. Candidates for this prestigious post should be judged by their efficiency, not gender, said Suheir Sharawi, Vice-president of Benha University, a public institution some 30 kilometres north of Cairo. “When treated equally and allowed to work on an equal footing with men, Egyptian women have proven their skills,” Sharawi told University World News.
Full report on the University World News site

EAST AFRICA: New quality assurance system
Dave Buchere
Institutions of higher learning in Africa must adhere to appropriate academic standards and acceptable learning environments to compete effectively globally, according to Kenya’s Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Dr Sally Kosgey. A harmonised quality assurance system for East Africa, currently being developed, would help ensure the standards and comparability of university education among member countries, Kosgey said last weekend.
Full report on the University World News site

ZAMBIA: Expert calls for external examinations
Clemence Manyukwe
Zambia should reinstate the external examination system as part of improving higher education, according to British education expert David Parry who was hired by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The recommendation, one of many made by Parry about two of Zambia’s public universities, follows a report by the parliamentary portfolio committee on education that expresses disquiet over examination leakages and political interference in the running of tertiary institutions.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Mugabe’s kid to stay at Hong Kong University
Clemence Manyukwe
Hong Kong University has rejected growing calls to send home Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s daughter, Bona Mugabe, who is studying there under an assumed name. The presence of the dictator’s daughter in Hong Kong became known after her mother, Grace Mugabe, assaulted photographer Tsim Sha Tsui while shopping in the country.
Full report on the University World News site

N IGERIA-CANADA: Research to boost rice production
Tunde Fatunde
Universities in Canada, N igeria and Benin are partners in a three-year project aimed at improving rice production, processing and conservation in West Africa. One objective of the research involving McGill University and numerous African institutions is to produce prototype parboiling rice equipment to assist small and medium-scale rice producers.
Full report on the University World News site




GHANA: Science minister appointed after three years
Frederick Baffour Opoku and Christina Scott
Ghana has appointed its first science minister in nearly three years, pending parliamentary approval, as part of the new government’s promise to restore the status of science and technology in the country. Shirley Ayitey is a biochemist and a high-ranking member of the incoming National Democratic Congress Party.
Full report on the University World News site
Originally published by

CAMEROON: “Multifaceted corruption” at universities
Extortion and political patronage are corrupting the public universities in Cameroon, claims the French newspaper Libération. Rectors siphoned off university funds for their own use or ‘salaries’ for their large entourages – all quite legally as rectors are “all-powerful and unsackable”, the paper reported. “Student fees, foreign trips, organisation of examinations, all are good pretexts for awarding themselves bonuses of tens of thousands of euros each year.”
Full report on the University World News site

COTE D’IVOIRE: Students refuse to pay increased fees
Angry students at the University of Cocody’s faculty of health sciences are refusing to pay vastly increased fees. Members of the national students’ union for health sciences said they would pay no more than the old rate of 6,000 CFA francs (US$12), reported Fraternité Matin of Abidjan. The university authorities are demanding 50,000 CFA francs.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

AUSTRALIA: Call for massive increase in enrolments
Geoff Maslen
A wide-ranging review of Australian higher education that reported in December has proposed a huge expansion in enrolments of local students to meet the nation’s future skills needs. Before the global financial crunch, the prospects of the federal government accepting the review’s recommendations were high. But a decision by the government last week to take the country into deficit with a $A42 billion (US$27 billion) infrastructure spending spree could profoundly affect the likelihood of the review’s recommendations being adopted.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Rise in foreign students, fall in part-timers
Diane Spencer
Latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency on student enrolment show an 8% increase in demand for full time postgraduate degrees among non-EU students and 2% for students from the European Union. The British Council commented: “While this is an excellent indicator of the quality and reputation of UK research and postgraduate courses, it also signifies that international students are increasingly coming to the UK to study shorter courses.”
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Lecturers strike despite increased funding
Jane Marshall
As Valérie Pécresse, Minister for Higher Education and Research, was last week announcing a € 731 million economic boost to the sector, lecturers at universities throughout France were intensifying strike action against a planned change to the statute governing their employment.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Inauspicious start to education dialogue
Makki Marseilles
Lack of money and the absence of a specific policy are placing serious obstacles ahead of the forthcoming dialogue on education, announced by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis in parliament a fortnight ago and being undertaken by Education Secretary Aris Spiliotopoulos. The government is placing enormous importance on the reform of education in an effort to restore its tarnished image and losses it has suffered in areas such as the economy, agriculture, health and unemployment – but the indications are not encouraging.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: New head for Central European University
John Shattuck, a distinguished human rights leader and legal scholar, has been appointed president and rector of the Hungarian Central European University in Budapest. Shattuck will replace the present rector Yehuda Elkana next August. A former vice-president of Harvard University, Shattuck is currently chief executive of the John F Kennedy Library Foundation, a national public affairs centre in Boston, where he also teaches international relations at Tufts University.
Full report on the University World News site


OXFORD: Inside the Hogwarts School of Graduate Study
Andrew M Boggs*
New graduate students follow particular scripts when meeting those from other departments at Oxford University. Especially interesting is the script graduate students, notably doctoral candidates, follow in social or quasi-social situations.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Time to rethink intellectual property laws?
David Dickson
The speed of the global economic collapse is provoking a widespread – many would say belated – realisation that many of the beliefs underlying economic expansion over the past 20 years need close questioning, particularly those involving the relationship between the state and the market. But so far the need to reassess the value of protecting intellectual property, and in particular, the claim that scientific and technological patents are essential for economic growth, has drawn little attention.
Full report on the University World News site
Originally published by

US: Extreme work-study
In the United States, the folk culture of higher education is deeply committed to the notion that higher education remains closely associated with higher wages. The truth is more complicated: more and more people have attempted to gain the higher education wage benefit in the past four decades, and real wages for many of those with advanced degrees have declined, rather than risen, writes Marc Bousquet, a member of the council of the American Association of University Professors and associate professor of English at Santa Clara University. In an excerpt in Academic Matters, adapted from his book How The University Works: Higher education and the low-wage nation, Bousquet explores the relationship of mass higher education in the US to a global shift toward precarious employment.
More on the University World News site


US: Arctic turtle fossil suggests global warming
The fossil of a tropical, freshwater Asian turtle found in Arctic Canada indicates that animals migrated from Asia to North America directly across a freshwater sea floating atop the then-warm, salty Arctic Ocean, new research suggests.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Ocean acidification: “the other CO2 problem”
More than 150 marine scientists from universities and research institutes in 26 nations have warned the world’s governments to act quickly to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the ocean, describing the issue as “the other CO2 problem”.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Serotonin causes locusts’ personality change
It just takes a little tickling to turn the usually solitary locust into the swarming monster that devastates crops around the globe. More importantly, researchers have now found the chemical responsible for the change – serotonin.
Full report on the University World News site


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RUSSIA: Harsh measures to stem ethnic campus clashes
Clashes between students of various nationalities have become so frequent and violent in Russia that the government has decided to expel those involved and to screen those applying to study in Moscow who come from non-Russian groups inside the Russian Federation or abroad, writes Paul Goble in Georgian Daily.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Education vouchers for unemployed graduates
Following a distribution of consumption vouchers to every citizen, the Executive Yuan plans to issue education vouchers to help unemployed university graduates, reports Taiwan News. The government has set up a special budget of NT$30 billion (US$891 million) for education vouchers and internship subsidies for university and college graduates, in the hope of reducing the number of the unemployed by 100,000.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Young choose higher education over jobs
Rather than seeking a job after graduation from the Mine and Geology College, Nguyen Ngoc Cuong opted to enrol in a masters course. With a new masters degree in hand, the 30-year-old engineer plans to take information technology and English language courses instead of looking for a job. These days, Cuong’s experience is not unique.
More on the University World News site

KOREA: ‘Global campus’ planned near Seoul
South Korea will support foreign higher education institutions to move into the country by building a global campus within the Incheon Free Economic Zone, some 40 kilometres west of Seoul, reports the Korea Herald. Government will spend 40 billion won (US$28.8 million) this year to help foreign universities and research institutes take part in the planned global campus scheduled to open in 2010, according to officials at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.
More on the University World News site

US: Singularity University to study technology change
Technology is changing the world so rapidly that even geniuses need help making sense of it all. That’s the idea underlying Singularity University, an unconventional school based on NASA’s Silicon Valley campus that will host its first class of 30 graduate students this year, reports Associated Press. They will take a nine-week course exploring ways to ensure technology improves mankind’s plight instead of harming it.
More on the University World News site

US: Professor accused of Rwanda genocide
Goucher College has suspended a visiting French professor from teaching after the Baltimore institution was presented with charges that he was directly involved in the 1994 genocide in his home country of Rwanda, writes David Moltz for Inside Higher Ed. While some view the charges as credible – he strongly denies them – some human rights officials are dubious, wondering if the professor is really in trouble back home over controversial statements he made questioning whether what took place in Rwanda was a genocide.
More on the University World News site

RWANDA: Private universities want law amended
Private universities in Rwanda are opposed to a provision in the law governing higher education institutions that empowers senates to determine the salaries of staff, reports The New Times in Kigali. Whereas salaries for public institutions are determined by the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, the law provides for senates to establish emoluments in private schools.
More on the University World News site

US: Obama’s billions for energy fuel research dreams
In the basement lab of Nitash Balsara at the University of California, Berkeley, are the ingredients of a lighter, more potent battery to power the cars of the future. To build it, he needs President Barack Obama’s stimulus package to pass, writes Oliver Staley for Bloomberg.
More on the University World News site

US: A rebirth in stem cell research
More than a decade after the discovery of human embryonic stem cells, Texas scientists are poised to finally ramp up research involving the cutting-edge but controversial science, writes Todd Ackerman in the Houston Chronicle. With President Barack Obama expected to lift federal restrictions on the field, scientists have expressed their delight and predicted a long-awaited scientific renaissance will follow.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: $20 laptop follows $2,000 car
India is planning to produce a laptop computer for the knockdown price of about US$20, having come up with the Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car at about $2,000, writes James Lamont in the Financial Times. The project, backed by New Delhi, would considerably undercut the so-called ‘$100 laptop’, otherwise known as the Children’s Machine or XO, that was designed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US.
More on the University World News site

US: Unintended ‘whitening’ of University of California?
For several years now, the University of California has been debating plans to drop the SAT Subject Tests and to find ways to consider more minority applicants, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. The debate has focused on the relative merits (or lack thereof) of the SAT and how to promote diversity while not violating the state’s ban on affirmative action. Last week, a new issue started to attract attention: concerns that admissions policy changes to be approved by the Board of Regents could lead to a significant drop in the numbers of Asian-American applicants who are admitted – with the major gains going to white applicants.
More on the University World News site

US: First Hispanic leader of a major university system
A Mexican-American paediatric surgeon will become the nation’s first Hispanic to preside over a major university system when Dr Francisco Cigarroa takes the helm at the University of Texas System, which faces financial woes and complaints about diversity, reports the Chicago Tribune.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Troubled university gets administrator
South Africa’s Education Minister Naledi Pandor has appointed University of the Witwatersrand extraordinary professor of education Jonathan Jansen as administrator of the beleaguered Mangosuthu University of Technology, reports Business Day. Jansen, who started last week, has six months to help the university back onto its feet after what appears to be more than five years of tyrannical rule by suspended Vice-chancellor Aaron Ndlovu.
More on the University World News site

US: Brandeis Museum closed by stealth
Few things are more poignant than a gem of a museum whose days may be numbered, writes Roberta Smith in the New York Times. So it was at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University on a visit, days after the university’s trustees voted unanimously to trash the institution by closing it and auctioning off the 6,000 works in its collection. The action came without consulting either the museum’s own board of governors or its director, Michael Rush.
More on the University World News site
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