ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0004 11 May 2008
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Islam's oldest higher education institution, Al Azhar University in Egypt has banned two traditional forms of dress – the jalabiya and slippers. See the story in our News section.

Australia's Monash University set up a campus in South Africa seven years ago. Now it looks set to make a profit.

A new book, Meanings of Timbuktu, explores ancient African manuscripts and the continent’s rich written history.

AFRICA: News from across the continent

ZIMBABWE: Students arrested, tortured, expelled
Clemence Manyukwe
Nearly 50 students have been arrested, 15 have been tortured, 10 expelled and two threatened with death so far this year in the run-up to, during and after Zimbabwe’s chaotic elections. Riot police tanks have camped at polytechnics in the two main cities and several institutions have been disrupted in recent weeks by student protests against fee hikes and the long delay in announcing the results of the presidential poll. Violence is continuing ahead of a run-off that will pit President Robert Mugabe against Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who beat the ageing tyrant on 29 March but failed to gain more than half of the vote.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Islamic seminary dress code causes a stir
Ashraf Khaled
Until recently Mohamed Sayed, a Sharia or Islamic law student, attended lectures wearing a flowing garment and a pair of slippers. Not any more. Under new regulations enforced by Al Azhar University – Egypt’s Islamic seminary and the Muslim world’s oldest and most prestigious higher education institution – Sayed and his colleagues are strictly forbidden to show up on the campus clad in the garment known locally as jalabiya and slippers.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Monash slowly recovers investment
Geoff Maslen
Seven years after Monash University became the first from around the world to gain registration to operate as a private higher education institution in South Africa, its ambitious goal of establishing a profitable campus in Johannesburg appears to be nearing success. Australia's largest university has so far invested nearly $40 million (US$38 million) in establishing Monash South Africa – but it could be another five years before it recovers all the money it has outlaid.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Private higher education stabilises
Karen MacGregor
Foreign universities flooded into newly democratic South Africa in their scores during the 1990s but most pulled out after being confronted by rigorous accreditation and registration processes, leaving the small but influential and increasingly stable private tertiary sector dominated by local groups. Today, 92 private higher education institutions operate legally in South Africa, according to the latest register of institutions just published by the Department of Education, including 81 fully registered and 11 with provisional status.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWSBRIEF: Protests and strikes in Burkino Faso, DRC
Protests and strikes have disrupted medical studies at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkino Faso as well as courses at the University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, during the past few months – and there are fears they will continue and result in wasted academic years.
Full report on the University World News site



AFRICA: Timbuktu book reveals continent’s written history
Karen MacGregor
Timbuktu is synonymous with the middle of nowhere. But centuries ago it was a world centre of intellectual pursuit and knowledge production, and its manuscripts – there are more than 200,000, some dating back to the 13th century – were widely circulated across Africa. A major project is underway to preserve the documents of the old mud-brick city on the edge of the desert. Now a new book co-edited by University of Cape Town historian Dr Shamil Jeppie, The Meanings of Timbuktu, is reviving Africa’s rich written tradition of scholarship.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Literature scholars pledge support for human rights
Tunde Fatunde
Hundreds of academics, writers and critics of African literature pledged to intensify support for human rights and good governance in Africa, at the 34th annual conference of the African Literature Association held at Western Illinois University recently. Many of around 360 papers presented rejected the worn-out philosophy of ‘Afro-pessimism’ and expressed faith in the cultural creativity of African people.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

RESEARCH: Adding 3D to online journals
Geoff Maslen
The world’s researchers now have a startlingly novel method of presenting their data as interactive, three-dimensional visualisations in online publications. Developed only this year by Melbourne-based astrophysicists Dr Christopher Fluke and Dr David Barnes from Swinburne University of Technology’s centre for astrophysics and supercomputing, the system enables researchers – and any other writer or publisher – to embed 3D illustrations into their PDF files.
Full report on the University World News site

JORDAN: Soaring enrolments create problems
Ard Jongsma
University enrolments in the Middle East are soaring as large youth cohorts try to find a better future through higher education. In Jordan, the number of tertiary level students has jumped from around 40,000 to 160,000 in just 17 years while the number of universities increased from only four to 26. But just as in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, this leap in educational attainment comes at a price, at least in the short term. Graduate unemployment is rampant.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: IFC plans private education strategy
Keith Nuthall
The ability of private tertiary education to give emerging economies a shot in the arm will be debated this week at a major conference in Washington DC, staged by the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank. Senior academics – such as Sir Graeme Davies, Vice-Chancellor and President of Britain’s University of London – will be participating at the event called ‘Investing in the Future: Innovation in Private Education’.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Dispersing students increases costs
Makki Marseilles
In an effort to achieve a more even distribution of the student population in Greek higher education, a major shift will be initiated this year. While the overall number of student places will not be increased, more students will be allocated to provincial universities while fewer will be placed in the major central and more popular universities such as Athens and Thessaloniki.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Council responds to clash with Russia
Nick Holdsworth
Britain’s international education, science and culture agency, the British Council, has reviewed its legal and taxation status worldwide after a long-running clash with Russian authorities forced the closure of all its offices outside Moscow.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: Report on creativity in higher education
Contemporary society is characterised by rapid change in all spheres of life, and creativity has been identified as a key factor in tackling challenges caused by change as well as a driving force towards knowledge creation and socio-economic advances. Scholars have been studying change in recent years, yet little attention has been paid in Europe to how creativity and innovation can be enhanced within and by academe. A 2006-07 report from European University Association, Creativity in higher education, aims to contribute to the development of the European knowledge society by identifying good practices and providing universities and their major external stakeholders with recommendations on how to foster creativity.
More on the University World New site


NEW ZEALAND: Vice-chancellor to head funding body
John Gerritsen*
A vice-chancellor has been appointed head of the New Zealand government's tertiary education funding body but universities should not expect special treatment when Professor Roy Sharp takes over leadership of the Tertiary Education Commission in August.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

FRANCE: Mona Lisa’s secret smile unveiled
Jane Marshall
The Mona Lisa has been stripped bare to reveal her most tantalising secret. Two French researchers have used virtual science to discover for the first time the technique Leonardo da Vinci used to paint the flesh tints of the lady with the enigmatic smile.
Full report on the University World News site


CANADA: Commonwealth scholarships for rich countries axed
The British government is axing its Commonwealth scholarship programme for students from Canada and several other countries – a move its advocates say is shortsighted, reports the Globe and Mail. Instead, Britain will focus on funding awards for scholars from countries such as China and India, which it considers more important to its “foreign policy success”.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Poor students turn to crime, p rostitution
Greedy university students in South Africa are resorting to crime so that they can splash out on fashionable clothing and trendy cellphones, writes Prega Govender in the Sunday Times. Figures obtained from several tertiary institutions paint a startling picture of the extent of criminal activity by students around the country.
More on the University World News site

ETHIOPIA: Huge new science institute planned
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education is to construct an institute of science that will enrol close to 40,000 students a year, reports Addis Fortune. The new institute will be located in Dukem, 37 kilometres east of the capital Addis Abeba. The decision follows a budget planning exercise by various ministries, and was prompted by a desire to boost natural science enrolments, sources disclosed.
More on the University World News site

TUNISIA: Euro-Mediterranean plans engineering institute
Civil engineering laboratories based in the Euro-Mediterranean countries are planning to set up a joint institute of engineering in 2010, said Hédi Hsisse, director of the civil engineering laboratory of the National Engineering School of Tunis (ENIT), reports the Tunis-based La Presse.
More on the University World News site

DRC: Italians discuss new university and research centre
A delegation from the Vatican has visited Kinshasa to discuss a major joint project to build a new university and a cancer research centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo, reports La Prospérité.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: ‘Third grade’ western universities unwelcome
India does not want ‘third grade’ Western universities or other foreign institutions that are not interested in complying with the country’s higher education regulations, Minister of Higher Education Arjun Singh has warned, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education news blog. He added that inferior Western universities wanted to go to India because it was a “virgin area” and because they could not compete in their own countries. While Singh said he was not opposed to foreign institutions, “the real universities should come”.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Fee shift will lead to more foreign students
University students will no longer be able to buy their way into prestige courses under changes introduced by the Labor Government, but universities say the end to full fee-paying places will force them to recruit more international students, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
More on the University World News site

UK: Assessors wreathed in secrecy
British academics have become so frustrated by secrecy surrounding the research assessment exercise, or RAE, that they are being forced to deploy the Freedom of Information Act against their own assessors, reports The Times.
More on the University World News site

UK: Foundation degrees growing in popularity
The growth in the number of students taking foundation degrees is on track to meet the government’s target of 100,000 by 2010, a report published last week suggests. But it warns that employers may not be prepared to pay for the cost of teaching the courses, reports the Education Guardian.
More on the University World News site

US: New salvo in fight over immigrants
Many states have debated the legality of extending in-state tuition rates to students living in the United States illegally. In North Carolina, the debate over the legality of a more fundamental matter – admitting undocumented students at all – has only just begun, writes Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Higher education generating dividends
The ambitious higher education reform programme launched in Pakistan in 1999 is now paying dividends and at present more than 2,500 government funded scholars are studying for a PhD abroad and 3,500 at home, reports Associated Press of Pakistan. So said Federal Education Minister Ahsan Iqbal at the first Asia-Europe Education Ministers Conference held in Berlin last week.
More on the University World News site


CANADA: Dean, Faculty of International Education
Malaspina University-College, British Columbia
Full specifications on the University World News site
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