ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0037 13 September 2009
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Africa is to launch a Pan-African University, with the enrollment of its first 100 students next year. See the story in our News section.

Scientists have identified two genes associated with Alzheimer's disease. See this week's Business section.

In this week's UWN interview, we talk to Jamie Merisotis, the president and CEO of a foundation that wants to increase the proportion of Americans with high quality qualifications by a massive 60% within 15 years.

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

AFRICA: Pan-African University to launch in 2010
Munyaradzi Makoni
The Pan-African University, envisaged as a continental network of institutions training postgraduate students and promoting research, is set to open its doors to the first 100 students next February at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. The centre at Stellenbosch, one of five institutions that will host the project, will focus on space sciences.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Foreign universities to open amid controversy
Ashraf Khaled
With the impending launch of a Japanese university of science and technology in Egypt and a Chinese university in the pipeline, there has been heated debate over whether the country of 80 million people – 40% of whom are believed to live below the poverty line – needs more such institutions. There are currently only two foreign universities in Egypt.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Medical schools in crisis
Tunde Fatunde
Medical academics in Nigeria have expressed concern about falling standards in doctor training. They have complained about ineffective admission policies, inadequate facilities, low remuneration and the brain drain, among other ills – and recommended actions to tackle problems at the country’s 33 medical schools and produce quality medical graduates.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Lecturer strike looms
Dave Buchere
Lecturers at public universities in Kenya have threatened to strike in an attempt to compel the government to implement a 15% salary increase negotiated in June this year. The University Academic Staff Union, or UASU, said members from four of the country’s seven public universities had already voted to strike during a series of union meetings.
Full report on the University World News site

NAMIBIA: First medical school to open next year
Moses Magadza
The senate of the University of Namibia has approved the curriculum for the country’s first medical school. This means that Namibia should start training medical doctors from next year, beginning with an intake of 50 students.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Affordable access pilot project
An Affordable Access pilot project is underway to establish whether an online library system, deployed with some success in South Africa, could add value to teaching and learning at universities in Malawi and Botswana.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: UNESCO chair for Pretoria
Munyaradzi Makoni
University of Pretoria law dean Professor Christof Heyns has been awarded a UNESCO Chair of Education Law, the Paris-based UN agency announced last week. Heyns said he would work to tackle common legal challenges faced by education systems in Africa.
Full report on the University World News site

ZAMBIA: University access remains limited
Access to university education remains extremely limited in Zambia, with only 2% of people obtaining a bachelor degree or higher qualification, according to University of Zambia Chancellor Dr Jacob Mwanza. He blamed this sorry state of affairs on lack of a clear higher education policy, pressure on university infrastructure and low levels of investment.
Full report on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: Transformation needs to be transformed
Rhoda Kadalie
I taught at the University of the Western Cape for 20 years and sat on other university committees and a university council for nine years. Over the years, I saw the results of a deteriorating basic education system, releasing to universities more and more students who were not ready for higher education. My colleagues and I simply became sick and tired of remedial teaching and the amount of time it took to make students understand the basics, let alone the substance, of the disciplines we taught.
First published in Business Day
Full report on the University World News site




DR CONGO: Staff protest at ‘illegal’ Open University decrees
Staff at CIDEP-UO, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Development and Continuing Education – Open University, are protesting against what they claim are illegal orders issued by the Minister of Higher and University Education modifying its functions, abolishing courses and annulling the text that created the institution, reports Le Potentiel of Kinshasa.
Full report on the University World News site


University of South Africa
Associate professorship in Logistics/Transport Economics
College of Economic and Management Sciences, School of Economic Sciences
Closing date: 25 September 2009
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NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

UK: Stout defence of universities
Diane Spencer
Professor Steve Smith, the new president of the vice-chancellors’ association Universities UK, has challenged the government to maintain a thriving, strong university sector. “Universities are essential, not optional, for future social and economic success,” he told the annual conference of UUK held in Edinburgh last week. His audience included David Lammy, Labour’s higher education minister.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: More degrees for quicker recovery – OECD
David Jobbins
The proportion of the population of the most-developed countries with degree-level qualifications has increased dramatically over the past 10 years, according to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development. But the US and the UK are among the developed nations with a slower rate – in the case of the US, an increase of just 1.6% a year over the period 1997-2006.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Licensing of private colleges postponed
Makki Marseilles
Just hours before the deadline set by the government for assessment of private colleges for a licence to operate in the new academic year, the process has been postponed until further notice – probably for at least three months from now.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Obama’s 2020 target attainable, says Merisotis
David Jobbins
President Obama’s $12 billion plan to restore graduation rates in the US to the top of the international league table is attainable despite the fallout from the global financial crisis, the president of the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation says. Jamie Merisotis, who launched the foundation’s own initiative earlier this year – to achieve a target of 60% of the US population gaining degree or equivalent qualifications by 2025 – told University World News that the goal is both vital and attainable.
Full report and interview on the University World News site

US: The liberal lion’s legacy to higher education
Sarah King Head
The death of Edward Kennedy on 25 August 2009 represents the end of an era of senatorial lions who sponsored educational reform in the US.
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.


Jan Petter Myklebust reports from a conference convened by the Swedish government to examine the interaction between education, research and innovation across Europe. The conference was titled “The Knowledge Triangle Shaping the Future of Europe”.

"Valley of death" for knowledge transfer
Sweden is marking its six-month presidency of the European Union by taking the initiative on the process of university modernisation and the connection between higher education, research and innovation.
Full report on the University World News site

European Institute of Technology on track
Leading academics and European officials reinforced the central role and strategy of the European Institute of Technology at the Gothenburg Knowledge Triangle conference convened to mark the Swedish EU presidency.
Full report on the University World News site

Degree programmes miss career target
Many academic programmes at European universities are not adapted to the needs of the labour market, Ján Figel, the European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, told the Gothenburg "Knowledge Triangle" conference.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Restoring American higher education leadership
Earlier this year the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation for Education launched its Goal 2025 initiative to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by the year 2025. Shortly afterwards President Obama announced his – broadly similar – plan with a target date of 2020. In an exclusive interview with University World News, Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of the foundation, explains the thinking behind the initiative and its relationship with the Obama plan.
Interview on the University World News site


GLOBAL: University Rankings 2.0
Alex Usher
As the number of university rankings systems around the world has increased and spread, they have mutated; no longer are ranking systems simply clones of the original rankings such as US News and World Report. A number of different types of ‘mutation’ have occurred, so that there are now varieties of rankings around the world. A short paper in the latest edition of Australian Universities’ Review describes these mutations and examines likely future developments in rankings as they continue to spread across the globe.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: New book on university rankings
University rankings are a relatively new phenomenon. Although quite an established practice in the US, it is only in the last decade that attempts to analyse university performance have spread to the rest of the world and new rankings have appeared that attempt to measure university performance beyond national borders. This trend has been accompanied by growing interest in studying rankings throughout the world. University Rankings, Diversity, and the New Landscape of Higher Education, edited by Barbara M Kehm and Bjørn Stensaker, is an effort to better understand rankings and their effects on higher education
More on the University World News site


COLUMBIA: IFC funds for low-income students
Leah Germain
The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) is investing US$8 million in Columbia’s private higher education sector to promote affordable technical and professional education for the country’s low and middle-income students. The funds will help to finance the private Columbian university, Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios (Uniminuto).
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: New genes may lead to Alzheimer’s treatment
Leah Germain
A group of international scientists have pinpointed two genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease, a discovery that may lead to new treatments and possible cures for this progressive and degenerative brain disorder.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: New standard for wireless technology
Alan Osborn
Technology researchers will benefit from a new research investment of €18 million (US$26 million) from the European Commission, which is designed to reinforce its support for the LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard for the fourth generation of wireless telecommunications, in preference to the alternative WiMax technology.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: Swiss to join Euro-programmes
A plan to give Swiss universities and students access to European Union education programmes, including Erasmus, has been proposed by the European Commission.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: OECD conference on teaching quality
A conference on quality teaching in higher education is being held by the OECD and the Istanbul Technical University on 12-13 October 2009.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Human rights for historians
The 15th Annual Report of the Network of Concerned Historians, available for download on its website, contains 107 pages of news from 97 countries on issues relating to the intersection of history and human rights, particularly censorship of history and persecution of historians.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

Denmark: Danish physics in free fall
Ard Jongsma
A soaking for Danish education minister Bertel Haarder was an embarrassment in more than one way when he exposed himself to the forces of gravity at the renowned Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen earlier this month.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Student sues over affair rumour
A former University of Manitoba science student is suing her ex-lab partner after she allegedly spread a rumour that the woman was romantically involved with her professor, writes Dean Pritchard for Sun Media. In a lawsuit filed recently, the Iranian woman claims the rumour forced her to move to Ontario to continue her studies and has jeopardised any chance she has of returning to her home country.
More on the University World News site


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IRAN: Universities punish students who disputed vote
Iranian universities have begun disciplining and suspending students who took part in street protests after the disputed presidential election in June, reformist websites reported last weekend, writes Robert F Worth for The New York Times. The new disciplinary actions came as officials reported that a presidential panel has begun an investigation of humanities curricula at universities.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Six education reform bills in pipeline
India’s Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said last week that he will introduce six new bills, including one to replace existing education regulators with a commission, reports Sindh Today. “Our ministry has circulated the draft bill about an autonomous overarching authority for higher education. We would like to introduce it in the next parliamentary session,” Sibal said while announcing his Ministry’s achievements in last 100 days.
More on the University World News site

CZECH: Scientists demand reform
Czech scientists have launched a petition demanding reform of the science sector and universities in reaction to what they call threats Czech science and education have faced under recent governments, reports Ceske Noviny. They have also demanded dismissal of the government’s Council for Research and Development.
More on the University World News site

US: Challenge, expectations sway graduation rates
Researchers studying how to improve graduation rates at US public colleges and universities have come up with a surprising and counter-intuitive finding: many students may fail to complete a bachelor degree not because the work is too hard – but because they’re not challenged enough – writes Mary Beth Marklein in USA Today.
More on the University World News site

US: Colleges are failing in graduation
If you were going to come up with a list of organisations whose failures had done the most damage to the American economy in recent years, you’d probably have to start with the Wall Street firms and regulatory agencies that brought us the financial crisis, writes David Leonhardt for The New York Times. From there, you might move on to Wall Street’s fellow bailout recipients in Detroit, the once-Big Three. But I would suggest that the list should also include a less obvious nominee: public universities.
More on the University World News site

US: New e-textbooks grade students
The earliest electronic textbooks simply offered the text of the printed book on a computer, writes Jeffrey R Young for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Today’s newest models, though, come with an array of features, including software tools that automatically grade homework for professors or let students share their margin notes with friends online.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH KOREA: 1,219 part-time lecturers dismissed
Education ministry statistics show that more than 1,200 part-time lecturers at 112 universities in South Korea have been dismissed this autumn, seemingly as a result of the Irregular Worker Law that requires employers to move part-time workers into regular positions after two years, reports The Hankyoreh. The dismissals have been met by growing calls for a system-wide solution to restore part-time university lecturers to their teaching positions.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH KOREA: Universities hire more foreign teachers
Aiming to strengthen their global competitiveness, local universities look eager to recruit more foreign professors, reports The Korea Herald. Seoul National University has hired 19 foreign professors for this autumn semester. The figure accounts for 32% of newly recruited professors at the university, which hired eight professors (21%) in the fall semester of last year.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Demand for university outstrips supply
Student demand in Australia’s university sector is outstripping supply as the job market tightens, with official numbers revealing that 18,500 eligible applicants missed out on a place this year, up from 12,600 last year, reports Andrew Trounson for The Australian. While the number of applicants receiving an offer rose by 1.7% to 191,068, the number of applicants jumped by 5.6% to 249,743. It is the biggest increase in applications since 2002.
More on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Meeting to ease anti-Malay tensions
The Malaysian Students Department in Jakarta is to meet with the Indonesian students’ body in a move to ease tensions in universities, reports The Star. The 5,900 Malaysian students studying in universities in Indonesia have been advised against responding to provocation after a medical student’s accommodation in Jogjakarta was pelted with rocks.
More on the University World News site

ETHIOPIA: Universities to step up HIV-Aids prevention
Presidents of universities in Ethiopia have said that prevention and control of HIV-Aids will be strengthened on campuses, reports the Walta Information Centre. At a national consultative meeting on HIV-Aids, held in Adama, Jimma University President Dr Kaba Urgessa said lecturers and students were ready to collaborate on prevention activities.
More on the University World News site

US: The new back-to-school ritual: Quarantines
It looks like a typical college dormitory: the functional single cots, the students lazing in pajamas and sandals, the laptops and iPhones clicked to Facebook, writes Robbie Brown in The New York Times. But the Turman South dormitory at Emory University in Atlanta is what administrators call a self-isolation facility. Or, as students call it, the Swine Flu Dorm. The Leper Colony. Club Swine.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: More athletes with degrees needed – Minister
Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, says that more national athletes with tertiary qualifications are needed so that the country can be represented at international events by “thinking athletes”, the national news agency Bernama reports. “We want at least 30% of our national athletes to be those studying in institutions of higher learning,” he said after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Sports Development.
More on the University World News site
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