ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0041 15 November 2009
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China's need to increase its academic workforce is spurring it to seek closer ties with nations, our correspondent reports.

Will the India bubble burst? Australia is struggling to save its Indian international student market. See our reports in this week's News and Features sections.

Researchers have developed a way to gain information about books from their smell. See this week's Science Scene.

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: Universities prepare for nuclear future
Alison Moodie
The South African government is keeping its nuclear energy plans under wraps. But leading scientists and researchers are moving ahead with an ambitious project, organised through a network of universities and technical institutions, to prepare for when a peaceful nuclear programme could be the country's principal source of energy.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Axed academics attack deadline
Ashraf Khaled
Ahmed Abdel Rehim, a demonstrator in the faculty of commerce at Ain Shams University, is one of 400 lecturers at Egypt’s second biggest public university posted to administrative jobs after failing to meet a deadline to obtain postgraduate degrees. Rehim was among hundreds of angry academics to have twice protested against the move outside the office of the university president.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Digital library expansion underway
A two-year programme aimed at establishing and expanding digital libraries in Africa is underway and is expected to run until the end of next year. The initiative by the Southern African Greenstone Support Network, or SAGSN, follows a pilot project undertaken during 2007 and 2008 in 11 African countries.
Full report on the University World News site

NAMIBIA: Training academics cuts expat numbers
Utaara Hoveka*
The University of Namibia has trained close to 250 of its staff at postgraduate level over the past 15 years, enabling the institution to drastically reduce its proportion of expatriate academics from 40% to around 6% of all lecturers. Of these, 149 have been trained at masters level while 99 have completed PhD degrees at universities around the world.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Lecturer suspended, ‘bonding’ scrapped
A Zimbabwean lecturer has been suspended for allegedly inciting students and fellow academics to stage protests and boycotts over poor conditions in higher education. This has added pressure on a government that has been forced to abandon a ‘bonding’ system students described as forced labour. Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund has pledged US$653 million to assist in resuscitating the higher and primary education sectors in 2010-11.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: New dinosaur discovery
Munyaradzi Makoni
The story of evolution continues to be told with the recent discovery in South Africa of a new species of dinosaur called Aardonyx celestae. Also known as Earth Claw – a name derived from its gargantuan-sized feet – the dinosaur was unearthed by a team of South African, Australian and American scientists on a farm in the central Free State province.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Disabled protest at discrimination
Tunde Fatunde
Disabled students and graduates have staged peaceful protests in several Nigerian cities over what they consider unjustified discrimination against them by government officials. They claim they are victims of injustices in the areas of employment and scholarship grants.
Full report on the University World News site

MOZAMBIQUE: China builds agriculture research centre
Munyaradzi Makoni
China is sending its farming expertise to Mozambique in a drive to increase the African country’s agricultural productivity. The Chinese Agricultural Technology Research and Transfer Centre is being built on a 52-hectare plot near the Umbeluzi Agricultural Station, close to the capital Maputo. It will open in early 2010.
First published by SciDev.Net
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Call for help in rebuilding universities
Munyaradzi Makoni
South Africa’s Science and Technology Minister, Naledi Pandor, has urged developed nations to invest in rebuilding African universities. Speaking at an Africa University Day Symposium held in Johannesburg, she said four in 10 African scientists were estimated to living in OECD countries and this had crippled research development in Africa.
Full report on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: University collaboration in the Cape
Alison Moodie
For years South African higher education institutions have worked on a variety of initiatives to promote regional collaboration, but many have failed. The Cape Higher Education Consortium, or CHEC, which was launched under a different name and guise in 1993 in response to severe budget constraints during the collapse of the apartheid state, is one of the few really successful university collaboration initiatives.
Full report on the University World News site




SENEGAL: Bambey centre promoted to university status
President Abdoulaye Wade has signed a decree upgrading the Centre Universitaire Régional de Bambey to the status of a full university – an act that has prompted students to call off a strike they started in June.
Full report on the University World News site

MAURITIUS: Government approves Open University bill
The government of Mauritius has approved legislation to set up an open and distance education university, and the bill was due for presentation to parliament last week, reported Le Matinal of Port-Louis.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

LATVIA: EUA warns of inadequate spending
The European University Association has warned the Latvian government – and other European nations – that it cannot afford to run the risk of losing “a generation of talented people or of a serious decrease in research and innovation activity”. The warning came as an EUA delegation visited Latvia last week to discuss salary cuts and staff reductions imposed on all Latvia’s 34 higher education institutions. Worse still, the government’s planned 2010 budget for higher education may be halved because of the severe impact of the global financial downturn.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Fears the Indian market may collapse
Geoff Maslen
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was in India last week in a desperate effort to defuse growing concern among Indian politicians and parents alarmed by violent attacks against their offspring studying in Australia and the closure of more than a dozen training colleges so far this year, stranding nearly 5,000 students. Rudd and his ministers fear the flood of Indian students into Australian education institutions is about to dry up, along with a fair slice of the $2 billion (US$1.86 billion) they contribute each year to the national economy.
Full report on the University World News site

US: International graduate recruitment stalls
David Jobbins
After four years of growth, international recruitment to graduate schools has stalled, according to the latest data. A survey by the Council of Graduate Schools, which represents 500 graduate institutions, shows that between 2008 and 2009 there was zero growth in recruitment from the top three source countries.
Full report on the University World News website

UK: Student fees review launched
Diane Spencer
The long-awaited review to overhaul Britain’s student funding system was launched last Tuesday by Higher Education Secretary Lord Mandelson with Conservative support although the results will not be available until after the next general election. Former Chief Executive of BP, Lord Browne, was appointed to chair the review amid fears of soaring fees.
Full report on the University World News site

UWN at the Canadian International Education Conference

CANADA: Students on immigration fast track
Philip Fine
A programme that allows international students to work for up to three years after graduation just might increase Canada’s recruitment competitiveness. Foreign applicants for a university place have discovered employment of that duration puts them on an immigration fast track so choosing a Canadian university now offers more than just a degree.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: China signs pacts but faces a conundrum
Philip Fine
The Chinese government appears to be taking a risk: its need to increase the number of its university professors while boosting its research capabilities means education contingents such as the one that arrived at the conference in Toronto will surely reappear. Another two groups of university administrators will again do the meet-and-greet as the Middle Kingdom continues to push for bilateral partnerships with foreign universities.
Full report on the University World News site

ISLAMIC WORLD: Plan to reform nations’ universities
Wagdy Sawahel
The 57 Islamic states have approved a plan for upgrading universities to gain world-class status, as well as reforming them to become “functional developmental institutes” providing valuable resources for business, industry and society. The plan was announced at a workshop in Morocco earlier this month.
Full report on the University World News site

US-ISLAMIC WORLD: New technology and innovation fund
Wagdy Sawahel
The US Overseas Private Investment Corporation has launched a global technology and innovation fund to facilitate science-based private sector investments that promote technology developments for a knowledge-based society in the Muslim world.
Full report on the University World News site

FINLAND: What a bunch of rankers!
Ian R Dobson*
Five of Finland’s 20 universities were ranked within the world’s top 500 universities in the 2009 Academic Ranking of World Universities. As the Shanghai Jiao Tong ranking is based primarily on universities’ research performance, the top institution was the University of Helsinki, which was placed 72nd in the world, 21st in Europe and 4th in Scandinavia.
Full report on the University World News site

FOR SALE: University World News site

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.


TURKMENISTAN: Activist forced to leave the country
Daniel Sawney and Jonathan Travis*
Human Rights Watch reports that a biologist and environmental activist who had been imprisoned by authorities in Turkmenistan has been released, apparently on the proviso that he leave the country. Andrei Zatoka was initially sentenced to five years imprisonment for allegedly ‘causing bodily harm’ after he was attacked by an unknown man in a marketplace last month.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site


EUROPE: Satellite will monitor climate change
Jane Marshall
The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity satellite launched this month will monitor climate change. SMOS is the first satellite designed to map sea surface salinity and to survey soil moisture on a global scale. The project is led by the European Space Agency in collaboration with France and Spain.
Full report on University World News site

SWITZERLAND: Melting glaciers leach banned chemicals
Emma Jackson
‘Out of sight, out of mind’ may have worked for chemical cleanups in the 1950s but now Swiss researchers from several national institutes have discovered long-banned chemicals are popping back into view – turning up in glacial lake sediments at levels not seen since they were in use more than 50 years ago. The spike is attributed to glacial melting induced by climate change.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Smell holds preservation information
The smell of old books holds a lot more than the promise of a good read, thanks to British and Slovenian research into a new way of monitoring the decay of books. The scientists identified compounds that could be used to assess the condition of an old book by ‘sniffing’ its odour.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Has the great Indian bubble burst?
Geoff Maslen
Some 90,000 students from India are now studying in Australia’s schools, colleges and universities but there is growing concern the Indian market is about to collapse. The downturn began when the Indian print and electronic media reported savage attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney but the fall in student visa applications has accelerated after the Australian Immigration Department tightened the rules governing permanent residency.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Universities underpin successful societies
Professor Richard Larkins*
At their best, universities play a vital role in society. They lie at the centre of a competitive, knowledge-based economy. They are responsible for the education of our leaders, innovators, creators and highly skilled workforce including health professionals, lawyers, engineers and teachers. They provide life-transforming opportunities to young people and stimulate the economy of the centres in which they are located.
Full paper on the University World News site

US: First edition of community engagement journal
The inaugural edition of The Journal of Community Engagement and Higher Education has been published by the Center for Public Service and Community Engagement at Indiana State University in the US. It is an online refereed journal that investigates community engagement and community-based learning perspectives, research and practice.
More on the University World News site

US: Students more engaged – survey
Although budget cuts have many educators worried about the quality of education students receive, an annual survey released last week suggests that institutions in the US – large and small, public and private – can achieve significant gains, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. The National Survey of Student Engagement does not measure learning per se, but a series of qualities of student engagement that are widely believed to correlate with learning, ranging from the rigour of assignments to faculty-student interactions to certain ‘high impact’ experiences that are praised as making students more engaged, more likely to stay enrolled and graduate, and more likely to learn more.
More on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Staff distinction is nonsense
From Professor Marcia Devlin*
Having started my career in the higher education sector as a professional staff member, and as a current member of the Association of Tertiary Education Management that Maree Conway and Giles Pickford contribute to, I agree with Maree and Giles in their comments in the last two editions of University World News that the distinction between different staff in universities is nonsense.
Full letter on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Fight the flu – get an education
American researchers have come up with a new, and rather compelling, reason to get an education – it can protect you from illnesses such as swine flu. A University of Michigan study has found that people who did not earn a high school diploma are not only more likely to get illnesses they may also find vaccines less effective compared with those who did graduate with a diploma.
Full report on the University World News site

BRAZIL: Mini-dress student readmitted to university
A female Brazilian student who was expelled from a Sao Paulo university after her short dress sparked student protests has been allowed back after federal prosecutors opened an investigation into the case, reports Reuters.
More on the University World News site

US: Case spotlights Dead Sea Scrolls, fake e-mails
Students and university officials started getting e-mails last year in which a prominent Judaic studies scholar seemed to make a startling confession: he had committed plagiarism. The messages, it turned out, were a hoax. Prosecutors filed criminal charges in New York, saying a lawyer sent the messages to tarnish the professor, his father's rival, writes Jennifer Peltz in The New York Times.
More on the University World News site


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IRAN: Oxford condemned for honouring slain protester
Iran has protested to an Oxford University college over a scholarship in memory of the slain Iranian student who became an icon of mass street protests sparked by the disputed June election, writes Ali Akbar Dareini for Associated Press. In Tehran, a small group of hard-line women demonstrated on Wednesday against the scholarship in front of the British Embassy. The women chanted “Death to Britain”, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: March target for higher education laws – Sibal
India will introduce by March legislation to increase the quality and reach of higher education, Human Resources Minister Kapil Sibal said last week, writes Bibhudatta Pradhan for Bloomberg. The government will seek to create an independent accreditation agency that will set benchmarks for all universities and colleges in the country, Sibal said. It will also draw up laws to govern the entry of foreign institutions and a regulator for higher education.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: 27,000 institutes of higher learning needed
More than 27,000 additional institutions of higher learning would be required to meet the targeted gross enrolment ratio of 30% for 2020, India’s Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said last weekend, reports Sindh Today. “This figure includes 14,000 colleges of general higher education, 12,775 additional technical and professional institutions and 269 additional universities,” he told the Ministry’s consultative committee.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Task force to tackle academic shortage
Having advanced the gross enrolment ratio in higher education to a highly ambitious 16% by the end of 11th Plan, India’s Human Resource Development Ministry has set up a task force to find a solution to deal with an acute shortage of academics and to work out an incentive plan aimed at better remuneration and greater societal respect, writes Akshaya Mukul for The Times of India.
More on the University World News site

NORWAY: University rejects boycott of Israel
An academic boycott of Israel by the Trondheim-based Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, was averted on Thursday when its executive board unanimously rejected the controversial move, writes Cnaan Liphshiz for Haaretz.
More on the University World News site

US: Budget-cutting strategies reviewed
Scrambling to address revenue shortfalls, the hardest hit public universities in the US most often chose to delay deferred maintenance projects, cut staff and reduce contingent faculty positions, according to a survey released last week by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. But those institutions still have plenty of “strategic” thinking to do about long-term solutions, the survey found, writes Jack Stripling for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: The insecurity of higher education research
Academics are often characterised (and caricatured) as pompous, confident that they are the smartest people in the room and eager to prove it. But arrogance and insecurity are sometimes flip sides of one coin, and the professoriate has seen a rash lately of scholars expressing dismay at their perceived marginalisation. But when it comes to a field with an inferiority complex, few have it over scholars who study higher education, writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: 1,000 scholarships to learn Chinese teaching
China has announced it will award scholarships to 1,021 foreign applicants for a masters programme in Chinese language teaching, in an effort to cultivate teachers able to meet increasing overseas demand to learn the language, the official Xinhua news agency reports. Statistics show that around 40 million people overseas are learning Chinese. The figure is estimated to reach 100 million by 2010, creating a high demand for teachers.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: President calls for more classes in English
Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou pledged to increase the international competitiveness of the country’s universities and said he expected more colleges to offer courses taught in English, Mo Yan-chih reports for the Taipei Times. Ma said the government expected to double the percentage of foreign students to 2.6% in the near future.
More on the University World News site

PERU: Fighting the odds to keep Indian tongues alive
In his first year at San Marcos University in Peru, Hermenegildo Espejo barely spoke, and certainly not in class, writes Frank Bajak for Associated Press. His Spanish was rudimentary, his accent an embarrassment. Classmates in Lima, a two-day trip from his Amazon home town, laughed at his grammatical stumbles. Six years later, Espejo is a thesis away from a degree in linguistics at Peru’s top public university. While his Spanish is now excellent, it is not his priority. He aspires to produce the first unified grammar of Awajun, his native tongue.
More on the University World News site

UK: Students to shame MPs who don’t oppose fees rise
Student leaders have promised to name and shame every MP who refuses to sign a pledge to oppose a rise in university tuition fees, the Guardian has learned, writes Jessica Shepherd. In a letter to the Guardian last week, the student leaders of more than 85 universities and higher education institutes in the UK pledged to break the two main political parties' “cosy consensus of silence” on fees.
More on the University World News site

UK: Any student, any subject, anywhere
Mandy has been on a study trip to the Sistine chapel without going to Italy. Tina, while working as a full-time carer, has been taking a free university course in psychology on another continent. And Scott has recently secured a degree from an online university on the basis of learning, largely acquired at work. New web technologies are driving a revolution, not only in the way students consume and institutions deliver higher education, but in the very idea of what makes a university, writes Harriet Swain for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

BAHRAIN: New university combats entrenched attitudes
At Bahrain Polytechnic, a lecturer displays a controversial Ralph Lauren advertisement in which a model’s waist appears smaller than her head and asks students how they would avoid a similar marketing debacle, writes Abeer Allam for the Financial Times. For further education in the Arab world, this is a fresh approach. Formal lectures and rote learning are the dominant teaching methods in public universities rather than the development of problem solving skills or practical knowledge.
More on the University World News site

GHANA: University to train skilled people for oil sector
The University of Ghana at Legon is holding discussions with oil companies in the country about training human resources for the sector, reports Joy Online. Some programmes relating to the oil sector have already been approved by the university council and others are being planned, in close collaboration with the industry.
More on the University World News site

US: Universities look for heat underground
In an effort to cut their carbon footprints, a handful of universities around America are turning to ground-source heat exchangers and geothermal heating – sometimes with the help of federal financing – writes Kate Galbraith for the The New York Times Green Inc blog.
More on the University World News site
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