ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0028 03 May 2009
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Students at Egypt's Helwan University protested their failure of first-term exams, saying professors were unfair. See the story in our News section.

N igeriaFlag_A28_NL3.jpg
N igeria is moving to replace its two entrance tests for tertiary education with a single exam next year, our correspondent reports.

Mexico shut down all education institutions in the wake of the swine flu outbreak. This week we report on the disease's impact on education internationally.

AFRICA: News from across the continent

EGYPT: University in turmoil over exam failures
Ashraf Khaled
Hundreds of students at Helwan University, one of Egypt’s 18 public universities, staged protests on the campus south of Cairo recently after they flunked first-term examinations. The protesters, mostly final year students in the faculties of law and commerce, accused professors of being unfair. The law dean resigned in protest when a university committee amended marks to allow students to pass.
Full report on the University World News site

N IGERIA: Single entrance examination in 2010
Tunde Fatunde
One competitive examination will replace the current two entrance tests for tertiary institutions in N igeria, Registrar of the Joint Examination Matriculation Board, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, has announced. The news prompted mostly negative reactions that the authorities will consider when fine-tuning the reform.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Central bank looted university funds
Zimbabwe’s central bank raided the foreign currency accounts of universities to prop up President Robert Mugabe’s government during a crippling economic and political crisis that saw inflation reach world-record levels. A legislator has taken the looting of funds from the private Africa University to parliament in a forthcoming question and answer session. Politicians said three other universities claimed donor money vanished from their accounts.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: AAU 12th general conference begins
Karen MacGregor
Hundreds of African and international higher education leaders are gathering in Abuja,
N igeria, today for the 12th General Conference of the Association of African Universities. The theme of this major event from 4-9 May is “Sustainable Development in Africa: The role of higher education”.
Full report on the University World News site

ALGERIA: Study abroad cuts to tackle brain drain
Wagdy Sawahel
In an effort to retain bright youngsters and stem a worsening brain drain, Algeria will restrict study abroad scholarships granted to high achievers in baccalaureate examinations. The government is also acting to improve the working conditions of researchers and will double grant funds for university students starting next September.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT-TUNISIA: Research accords with France
Jane Marshall
The environment features prominently among areas for joint research and training in partnerships that French institutions have entered with Egyptian and Tunisian universities and research agencies.
Full report on the University World News site

DEVELOPING WORLD: Universities and the flu crisis
Wagdy Sawahel
The outbreak of swine influenza provides a lesson for universities in developing countries to learn how to adjust research programmes to meet the needs of the community, according to Anwar Nasim, President of the Federation of Asian Biotech Associations. But there is little research taking place in African universities to deal with bird flu or swine influenza, claimed Abdulrazak Ibrahim, a biochemist at N igeria’s Ahmadu Bello University.
Full report on the University World News site


AFRICA: Women scientists discuss new network
Members of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (Inwes) met in Abidjan last month to discuss setting up an African regional network. reported that delegates from 12 African countries attended the conference “What role for women engineers and scientists in the developing Africa” organised by CIFISATS, the Ivorian society of women engineers and scientists.
Full report on the University World News site

CÔTE D’IVOIRE: Universities hit by strikes
Lecturers and researchers at universities and teaching hospitals in Côte d’Ivoire carried out a 72-hour strike last week in protest against late or non-payment of salaries and research grants and, in the case of medical lecturers, failure to apply a decree remunerating them according to their dual professional status.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Swine flu spreads alarm in higher education
Geoff Maslen
The Mexican government last week ordered the closure of all universities and schools across the country as fears of a worldwide pandemic caused by the swine flu outbreak spread around the globe. The government’s Health Secretariat issued the closure order to apply from last Monday and more than 2.5 million university students and 30 million school students were immediately affected – the first nationwide shutdown of education institutions in Mexico’s history.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Shaping the next decade for Bologna
Full implementation of the Bologna process’ objectives at the European, national and institutional levels will require increased momentum and commitment beyond 2010, says a statement released following a meeting last week in Belgium of the 46 education ministers from the European countries involved.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Rise in higher education and student mobility
Jane Marshall
The proportion of the population in the 27 countries of the European Union completing at least two years of higher education has continued to rise in recent years and now reaches nearly a third of young people, says a report by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Communities. Other findings are that the share of students studying abroad is also increasing.
Full report on the University World News site

FINLAND: Reforms face constitutional glitch
Ian Dobson*
The legislative process to reform Finland’s university sector is experiencing a few last-minute hiccups. Critics say aspects of the radical changes intended for university governance might be unconstitutional.
Full report on the University World News site

FRANCE: Striking lecturers “step up the movement”
Jane Marshall
The three-month strike by university lecturers and researchers showed no sign of ending last week, with a national meeting voting to boycott examinations until the government gave in to demands.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: League season arrives with first guide
David Jobbins
British Universities are in the middle of the annual league table publication season. In little more than a month, three national newspapers will have published rankings aimed at applicants seeking a university place next year. The first – The Complete University Guide – appeared last Thursday, with Oxford once more ahead of Cambridge in the league table.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: First collegiate college system
Robert J O’Hara*
The Lahore University of Management Sciences or LUMS is discussing the establishment of a residential college system for its campus which would be the first collegiate scheme to be introduced in Pakistan.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Unesco and partners launch digital library
Jane Marshall
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the US Library of Congress and 31 other organisations have launched the World Digital Library, a free website in seven languages featuring unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: EUA’s priorities for the next decade
Jean-Marc Rapp*
In addition to the crucial issues of autonomy and funding, there are five other issues I would like to underline as we look to the future, including the importance of the consolidation and communication of the already significant achievements of the Bologna process. Attention must be paid to following up ‘unfinished business’ in the implementation of the whole package of reforms, and to ensure that sustainable qualitative change – rather than superficial structural changes only – is embedded in institutional and also subject specific cultures.
Full report on the University World News site

FOR SALE: University World News e-book

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


CANADA: Open access – promises and challenges
Leslie Chan*
Have you ‘googled’ yourself lately? Have you wondered why some of your publications did not show up in the search results? Have you ever tried to access one of your own journal articles online, only to be asked to pay US$30 by the publisher? Why are articles by some of your colleagues freely available online in full text even though they were also originally published in commercial journals? Is this permissible? Why is Google Scholar showing that your colleagues’ articles are cited more than yours? Why is your institution’s library paying millions of dollars each year for journal subscriptions and yet you are still unable to access some of the journals you need for your research?
Full article on the University World News site
Originally published by the journal Academic Matters


Editor’s note: We asked one of our readers, Giles Pickford, why he decided to donate A$10 a week to University World News for a year. This was his reply:
The idea that you can cut down swathes of forest, truck it to a paper mill, turn it into paper, print news on it, then truck it to outlets and deliver it to households, is obviously not a viable idea any more. The immense carbon footprint of the newspaper industry is a complete anachronism in the 21st century. University World News is built on the 21st Century model of a newspaper. The fact that the “paper” is not there is the reason why it is right out in front.
Full letter on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

UK: The Obama bounce
Diane Spencer
President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office have sparked off all kinds of unintended consequences: the return of the once-despised studded leather belt as worn by the First Lady, the rise in popularity of Portuguese Water dogs, and now, the increase in the number of students applying for American studies.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Don’t embarrass your masters
Adam Kissel*
Bowdoin College, a college of liberal arts and science in Maine, threw a slew of charges against an economics professor who dared to distribute a research paper with conclusions that embarrassed the college.
Full report on the University World News site


NEW ZEALAND: Internet use boosts productivity
Personal use of the internet at work could be good for productivity, new research into the habits and attitudes of workers in New Zealand, Finland, Germany, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and the United States indicates.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: EU to double IT research funding
The European Commission has committed to a massive increase in funding for high-risk IT research, calling on member nations to follow suit.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Cow genome sequenced
After six years of effort by 300 scientists around the world at a cost of US$53 million, the cow genome has been cracked. Moo...
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Unexpected benefits from lice
Parasites such as lice have a role in the conditioning of a ‘natural’ immune system, reducing the likelihood of immune dysfunctions, a study of mice from a Nottinghamshire forest indicates.
Full report on the University World News site


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JAPAN: Foreign student numbers double in a decade
Over the past decade, the number of foreign students seeking higher education in Japan has more than doubled, reports the Daily Yomiuri. In contrast, the number of Japanese students going abroad for their education is waning. In 2008, 123,829 foreign students were studying at the nation’s universities and vocational schools, a 240% increase over the 1998 figure, according to the Japan Student Services Organisation.
More on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Overseas students boost university numbers
The number of students enrolled at Swedish universities climbed in 2008 for the first time since the early 2000s, new statistics from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskolverket) show, reports The Local. Foreign students account for a large part of the increase.
More on the University World News site

US: Professor makes Most Wanted list
Accused murderer George Zinkhan III now is one of America’s Most Wanted, reports the Athens Banner-Herald. Authorities don't know where the University of Georgia professor fled after he allegedly shot and killed his wife and two men in Athens last weekend, or even if he still is alive. But the “America's Most Wanted” television show added Zinkhan to a list of fugitives on its website and the programme might produce a segment about the slayings.
More on the University World News site

IRELAND: Highest paid academic ‘smoked out’
If salary witch-hunts have become the stock-in-trade of Irish journalism, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are the burning torches, reports the Irish Times. The latest to fall foul of FOI are universities. A request in March smoked out the highest salaries in Irish academia, topped by the €409,000 pay packet of University College Dublin’s Vice-president of Research, Professor Des Fitzgerald.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Universities to test morals, knowledge
Universities will look beyond a student’s academic achievements to include moral and social efforts under new entrance guidelines announced on Monday, writes Liang Qiwen for China Daily. The Ministry of Education said results from the annual national college entrance examination would not be the sole criteria when assessing prospective university students.
More on the University World News site

UK: Students fear harsh job market
More than 25% of final-year students at top UK universities plan to stay on for further study as the recession bites, a poll of 16,000 students has found, reports BBC News. The research by High Fliers found 52% thought the prospects for new graduates were very limited and 36% did not expect to get a graduate job this year. Nearly half (48%) feared they may be made redundant within a year of work.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Mid-ranking universities are in demand
Statistics released after the last day of registration for university entrance exams showed that more students are aiming for mid-ranking universities rather than vying for limited slots in the most competitive schools, reports VietNamNet.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: 1,000 scholarships for Afghan students
Pakistan has offered 1,000 scholarships to Afghan students to study in the country in almost all disciplines, writes Asim Hussain for The Daily Mail. Under the phased programme, as many as 200 Afghan students will join Pakistani universities this year. The first batch of students will be admitted in September at the start of the academic year.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Co-educational institutions threatened
Panic spread through co-educational institutions in Karachi after receiving warnings, believed to be from the Taliban, to close down or face the consequences, reports the Daily Times. Schools, colleges and universities – mostly institutions affiliated to the Cambridge Board that have male and female students studying together without discrimination – have received threatening letters and phone calls from the Taliban.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: IP regulations threaten innovation
A growing number of South African academics, activists and bloggers are calling on the Department of Science and Technology to review draft intellectual property regulations governing public research, saying that they are a significant threat to future innovation in the country, writes Alastair Otter for Tectonic. The regulations, ironically from a department which has long championed free software, would also make it impossible to produce free software as part of any research projects, say opponents of the changes.
More on the University World News site

ETHIOPIA: Electronic library system for universities
In an effort to expand the reach of the currently limited reference materials available to Ethiopian university students and academics, the Ministry of Education is finalising preparations to launch a nationwide electronic library system, reports EthioPlanet.
More on the University World News site

US: Top institute scolds doctors and medical schools
In a scolding report, America’s most influential medical advisory group said doctors should stop taking much of the money, gifts and free drug samples they routinely accept from drug and device companies. The report by the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, is a stinging indictment of many of the most common means by which drug and device makers endear themselves to doctors, medical schools and hospitals, writes Gardiner Harris for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

US: Dead programmes walking
College leaders are often criticised for not making difficult choices, allowing programmes that are essentially dead to keep breathing for years with the aid of minimal life support, writes Jack Stripling for Inside Higher Ed. But with endowment values tumbling and many state budgets slashed, campuses are now making some of those choices – even if they are still not easy.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Queensland to open Confucius Institute
Australia’s first Confucius Institute to celebrate China as a power in science is to open at the University of Queensland, writes Bernard Lane in The Australian. A controversial exercise in Chinese soft power, the institutes are jointly funded and run by local universities and Hanban, a Chinese government entity. Mostly delivering language and culture programmes, they also involve partnerships with Chinese universities.
More on the University World News site
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