ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0036 30 August 2009
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Where will the next Albert Einstein come from? Maybe Africa if a new initiative in maths and computing is successful, our correspondent reports.

This week's UWN Interview sees us talk to Damini Kumar about how Europe can produce inventive graduates.

The University of Glasgow has produced a world first in any language – an historical thesaurus. See this week's Uni-Lateral column.

University World News was the official media partner to the Unesco World Conference on higher education, held in Paris from 5-8 July.

AFRICA: News from across the continent

SOUTH AFRICA: Doctor brain drain continues
Munyaradzi Makoni
The medical brain drain that had stripped South Africa of efficiency in running its public hospitals is continuing. The country is losing on average 17% of its qualifying doctors every year. In four years since 2005, nearly 1,000 new doctors did not register to work in South Africa, according to government figures.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Students abroad starve
Zimbabweans studying abroad on government scholarships are starving as the country’s authorities struggle to raise funds for their upkeep. Local newspapers have been awash with letters from desperate students who have fallen on hard times. Most are studying in Algeria but there are also students who are suffering in Libya, Cuba, China and Russia.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Plans for 15 NextEinstein institutes
Wagdy Sawahel
An innovative NextEinstein Initiative, which provides postgraduate training in maths and computing skills to super-bright African graduates, is spreading its wings. The first African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa is to be joined in 2011 by a new AIMS in Senegal, followed by institutes in Ethiopia and Ghana. Within a decade the AIMS NextEinstein Initiative plans to launch 15 institutes across Africa.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Disagreements prolong strike
Tunde Fatunde
The strike that has paralysed Nigeria’s public universities for eight weeks is yet to be resolved. The government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have adopted uncompromising positions, prolonging industrial action that has angered students. The government has put in play the age-old strategy of weakening opponents using a divide and rule “No work, no pay” plan.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Private universities cash in on enrolment cut
Ashraf Khaled
Ahmed Abdel Hamid scored 94% in Egypt’s secondary school certificate examinations and wants to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. But his aspiration could be shattered because a 15% cut in the number of new students accepted this year by the medical schools of state-owned universities has raised the entrance bar to 98% – and private universities have raised their fees. Becoming a doctor, said Abdel Hamid sadly, “will cost me a fortune”.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Primary teachers barred from degree study
Dave Buchere
The Teachers Service Commission in Kenya has announced that primary teachers should be barred from direct admission to universities for bachelor of education studies because they do not meet entry requirements – a setback for primary teachers just ahead of a workshop at which education stakeholders called for them to be empowered and recognised alongside other education professionals.
Full report on the University World News site

GAMBIA: Plans to develop higher education
Wagdy Sawahel
Gambia – resource-poor, under-developed and the smallest country in Africa – has launched a 10-year higher education strategy to build its human resources and strengthen tertiary infrastructure. The aim is to produce the high-level intellectual and technical skills essential to drive socio-economic and technological development.
Full report on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: University students can’t read?
Chrissie Boughey*
The recent publication in South Africa of the results of pilots of the new National Benchmark Tests – tests which measure the performance of school-leavers in three key areas and aim to predict whether or not they will have difficulty as they enter university – has brought a flurry of outrage from academics and politicians. They are reported as claiming that standards are dropping and students can’t read or write. While this sort of knee-jerk reaction to tests conducted at a national level is largely predictable, especially in a country where the school system still experiences huge problems, it is also questionable given research produced in the field of academic development – an area which has long concerned itself with the issue of student ‘under-preparedness’ at universities.
Full report on the University World News site


MALI: Côte d’Ivoire students highlight difficulties
More than 350 students from Côte d’Ivoire studying in Mali are living in extreme difficulty with overcrowded living conditions and no grants or state aid. They have set up a self-help association, members of which have spoken to Ousmane Diallo of Nord-Sud Quotidien of Abidjan.
Full report on the University World News site

BURKINA FASO: Lost academic year at Koudougou?
The outcome of the 2008-09 academic year remained uncertain last week at the University of Koudougou in Burkina Faso, as the National Association of Burkina Students (ANEB) continued its strike over conditions of study and against the university management’s refusal to lift a collective ‘zero’ for students who boycotted coursework.
Full report on the University World News site

DR CONGO: Minister intervenes in chaotic university
The Minister for University Education, Leonard Mashako Mamba, has intervened to try to restore order at the medical faculty of the University of Kinshasa (Unikin), following operational malfunctions including overlapping academic years, abnormal length of courses, absent teachers and programmes that are not followed.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

IRAN: 20-year plan for knowledge-based economy
Wagdy Sawahel
To promote a knowledge-based economy, Iran has announced a 20-year “comprehensive plan for science” focusing on science in higher education and industry-university research partnerships.
Full report on the University World News site

US: California’s higher education apocalypse
Sarah King Head
The fiscal crisis in California, the world’s eighth largest economy, seems destined to jeopardise the integrity – and future – of higher education in the state. The state’s two university networks – the University of California and the California State University – expect to have their budgets cut by 20%, from $3.61 billion to $2.79 billion in 2009-10.
Full report on the University World News site

IRELAND: Free higher education to end
John Walshe
The end is nigh for free higher education in Ireland. Even the timing of its demise is known – September 2010, barring some miraculous political intervention. The only decision that has to be made is the manner of its departure.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Fresh look at innovation
Jan Petter Myklebust*
The Swedish Presidency of the European Union has organised a major conference starting this week and titled The Knowledge Triangle: Shaping the future of Europe. Ministers from Sweden, Finland and the UK, together with high-ranking EU Commission officers including two commissioners and 350 university presidents, researchers, students and policy-makers and some high level industry leaders will meet in the university town of Gothenburg.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: OECD demands constitutional reforms
Makki Marseilles
Only constitutional reforms such as the payment of fees and the operation of private universities will improve Greek higher education, the OECD insists in its 2009 report on Greece. The report offers proposals for weathering the international crisis, enhancing fiscal stability and improving the performance of the public health care system
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Professor admits to ghost-written paper
Philip Fine
The practice of ghostwriting, where pharmaceuticals companies convince university professors to put their names on articles written by someone else, has been brought further into the light after a Canadian professor admitted she wrote only a portion of a published paper, despite being listed as sole author.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Foreigners face stringent tests
Geoff Maslen
In a crackdown on visa fraud, the government has imposed stringent tests on foreign students from five large source countries enrolling in onshore education institutions. Those from the target countries will face interviews and have restricted access to visa applications online.
Full report on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Private universities under threat
David Jardine
Some 700 private universities in Indonesia have been put on notice by the Ministry of National Education that their accreditation will be withdrawn if they do not quickly comply with regulations. The universities are under instructions to re-register with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Admissions decline first in five years
Offers of admission from US graduate schools to prospective international students decreased 3% from 2008 to 2009, the first decline since 2004, according to the Council of Graduate Schools.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Academy fixes the e-gap
The British Academy, the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences, is joining the electronic age by launching a new grants system, e-GAP2. The first schemes to benefit from the new application process will be the International Partnerships Scheme (IPS) and the UK-Latin America and the Caribbean Link Programme (LACP).
Full report on the University World News site

FOR SALE: University World News e-book

Reports from the Frontier: 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.


FRANCE: Liberté trumps égalité in Sarkozy's revolution
Luke Slattery*
For the first half of 2009, the French university system languished in a state of near-paralysis and the troubles are not over yet. Students and their professors, galvanised by a suite of modernisation reforms unleashed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon, downed pencils and chalk. Protests rolled through the rues and higher education leapt to the front page of Le Monde under headlines proclaiming "une crise" of unprecedented proportions.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: The Professional Value of ERASMUS Mobility
The promotion of temporary study abroad in Europe is generally viewed as the most visible “success story” among internationalisation policies of higher education, and the European Union’s ERASMUS programme is certainly the flagship in this regard, writes Bernd Wächter in the preface of a new book, The Professional Value of ERASMUS Mobility: The impact of international experience on former students’ and on teachers’ careers, by Kerstin Janson, Harald Schomburg and Ulrich Teichler.
Full preface on the University World News site


GLOBAL: ‘Whole-brained’ education crucial for creativity*
Breaking down barriers between arts and sciences is essential if Europe is to produce inventive graduates, according to Damini Kumar of the National University of Ireland and Ambassador of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation. In this interview, Kumar speaks of her aims.
Full report on the University World News site


VENEZUELA: Students and staff injured on campus
Jonathan Travis*
Four people have been injured on the campus of Universidad de Los Andes (ULA) in western Venezuela during an attack by a group of 30 suspected government supporters. The Latin America Herald Tribune has said the intruders, some of whom were carrying firearms, had burst into the canteen on the campus and attacked students, two of whom were injured. Two members of the academic staff were also reportedly injured.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Good-looking staff alienate customers
Leah Germain
A new study from the University of South Australia has shown that hiring beautiful sales staff may not be the best business model for clothing retailers. Bianca Price, a PhD researcher heading the study, found that women were less likely to make a purchase if they thought the saleswoman was more attractive than them.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: New medical research priorities for 2010
Emma Jackson
Health graduate students and researchers at universities and research institutes across the EU have a chance to win funding for potentially lucrative research projects in the field of adverse drug reactions, after the European Medicines Agency (Emea) announced its 2010 drug safety research priorities. The money will come from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Ivy League university maintains balanced budget
Leah Germain
An Ivy League university has unveiled details of its successful investment and budgetary strategy as it enters a new American fiscal year. The University of Pennsylvania, based in Philadelphia, is reporting minimal losses.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

UK: World-first historical thesaurus
After 45 years painstaking work by the English Language department at the University of Glasgow, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is to be published this autumn. The thesaurus will be the first produced for any language in the world, containing almost every word in English from Old English to the present day
Full report on the University World News site

US: Beer promotions pulled at some colleges
Brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev is dropping its ‘Fan Cans’ promotions from communities around America where colleges have complained that the effort – which sells cans of Bud Light in school colours – promotes underage drinking and infringes on trademarks, reports Emily Fredrix for The Associated Press.
More on the University World News site


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GERMANY: Students paid bribes for PhDs
German prosecutors are investigating over 100 senior academics at a dozen of the country's top universities on suspicion that they awarded doctorates to hundreds of mediocre or unqualified students after taking bribes from a firm of educational consultants, writes Tony Paterson for The Independent.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Universities squabble over research funding
Smaller schools across Canada are up in arms over a proposal from five of the country’s largest universities to concentrate research and graduate studies in the big institutions, reports CBC News. The leaders of McGill University and the universities of British Columbia, Alberta, Toronto and Montreal have proposed a national strategy for higher education that would see top research dollars go to fewer schools, in an effort to better use resources available.
More on the University World News site

UK: Rush for university intensifies
More than half of the UK university places on offer through clearing have already been snapped up, according to new figures suggesting there are now 14 students chasing every degree still available, writes Polly Curtis for The Guardian. Four days after A-level results were published, universities were fast running out of spaces after a squeeze triggered by a 10% increase in applications and a cap on student numbers introduced by ministers to cut spending.
More on the University World News site

US: SAT scores drop, gaps grow
Average SAT scores in the US dropped slightly for those who graduated from high school this year, as many more students and a more diverse group of students than in the past took the exam, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. While College Board materials stressed those increases in participation, the data released also included news that may concern many educators: gaps in scores – both by race and ethnicity, and by family wealth – grew this year.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: New chair of Commonwealth universities
South Africa’s Dr Theuns Eloff, vice-chancellor of North West University, has been appointed chair of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, reports Monako Dibetle for the Mail & Guardian. The association represents about 500 universities in 36 countries.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Database of graduates planned
Degree holders might soon be required to register their academic qualifications with Malaysia’s Higher Education Ministry, writes Richard Lim for The Star. Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the move was designed to curb the problem of degree mills.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Professors spark breastfeeding outrage
South African HIV activists are outraged by a recommendation from world-renowned University of KwaZulu-Natal researchers, Hoosen Coovadia and Anna Coutsoudis, that the government should stop providing free formula milk to all HIV-infected mothers, writes Sara Barrett for the Mail & Guardian. This follows an article in the British medical journal, The Lancet, in which the professors argued that “the time has come to confront the obvious dangers of infant malnutrition and mortality associated with formula feeding.”
More on the University World News site

RWANDA: President demands quality higher education
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has called on education institutions to emphasise quality as the only way to produce a skilled and professional workforce, write Edmund Kagire and Paul Ntambara for The New Times. Speaking at the National University of Rwanda, Kagame said the country still had a long way to go to graduate students capable of tackling the country’s challenges and able to compete with non-nationals.
More on the University World News site

GHANA: Draft-dodging graduates face prosecution
The Executive Director of Ghana’s National Service Scheme, Vincent Senam Kuagbenu, has warned that from next year, eligible graduates who refuse to serve the nation will be prosecuted, reports the Ghana News Agency. He added that employers of graduates who skipped national service would also face the law, and cautioned them to demand the National Service Certificate as a condition of employment.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Higher education management lagging
While Vietnam’s higher education system is developing rapidly and on a large scale, the Education Ministry’s management is failing to keep pace, Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Thien Nhan said last week. Since 1987, the number of tertiary institutions in the country has increased from 101 to 376.
More on the University World News site

UK: University error leaves hundreds without places
Almost 200 high-flying A-level students had their places confirmed at Exeter University, only to discover that they had in fact been rejected and had missed out on places at other universities, it emerged last week. Another equally large group were offered a place at the wrong campus, reports Jessica Shepherd for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: New graduates lower job expectations
The number of new graduates willing to accept jobs that pay less than NT$20,000 (US$608) a month has doubled compared with the same period last year, a recent survey by the Council of Labour Affairs has showed, reports Shelley Huang for Taipei Times.
More on the University World News site

US: Media multi-tasking makes it harder to focus
You may think e-mailing, texting, talking on the phone and listening to music all at once is making you more efficient, but new research suggests the opposite is true, writes Jennifer Thomas for the US News & World Report. The research shows that students who did the most multi-tasking were less able to focus and concentrate – even when they were trying to do only one task at a time.
More on the University World News site
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