ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0042 29 November 2009
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Greece's academic community has been shocked by criminal proceedings brought against its top managers. See the story in our News section.

The latest Open Doors report on foreign students in the US contains worrying trends, our correspondent reports.

New research provides strong evidence that climate change will bring an increase in armed conflict in Africa. See the story this week's Science Scene. Photo: Chief Mass Communication Spec ialist Eric A. Clement, U.S. Navy.

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

CHINA-AFRICA: Three-year partnership plan announced
Wagdy Sawahel
China and 49 African countries have agreed on a three-year action plan to establish strategic partnerships in science and technology as well as higher education to promote knowledge-based sustainable development. The plan was announced earlier this month at the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Forex-short students barter fees
Zimbabwean students have resorted to bartering to pay fees because of critical foreign currency shortages, according to a report by the country’s Comptroller and Auditor General Mildred Chiri. Some students have settled payments using groceries, livestock and other valuables instead of cash.
Full report on the University World News site

BENIN: Steady growth in private tertiary institutions
Tunde Fatunde
After four years steady growth in the private tertiary education sector, Benin now has 15 private institutions. Many are affiliated to universities in France, Belgium and Canada, and there are plans to set up satellite campuses of European universities in the West African nation.
Full report on the University World News site

NAMIBIA: Vice-chancellors’ forum established
Utaara Hoveka*
The first Vice-chancellors and Rectors Forum for Namibia has been established. Chair of the forum and Vice-chancellor of the University of Namibia, Professor Lazarus Hangula, said it created a framework for tertiary education in Namibia to consult, collaborate and share resources.
Full report on the University World News site

DR CONGO: Minister plans purge of “fraudulent dumps”
Many of the higher education institutions in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa were “fraudulent money-gathering dumps”, claimed Léonard Mashako Mamba, Minister for Higher Education and Research, who has promised action to shut down those not up to acceptable standards.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT-ALGERIA: Football tensions hit academic links
Ashraf Khaled
Tensions between Egypt and Algeria – the worst in years between two Arab countries – have seriously damaged relations in various fields including academic links. People and media in both countries have been engaged in an angry war of words since 18 November when their national football teams met in a play-off in Sudan for the 2010 World Cup.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Civil war more likely with climate change
Increased temperatures associated with climate change are likely to significantly increase the incidence of civil war in sub-Saharan Africa within the next two decades, according to a new study by US researchers.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Water research initiative expands
Munyaradzi Makoni
The University of Stellenbosch will lead an initiative to expand a Southern African network of centres of excellence in water research for the next three years. Driven by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), the development arm of the African Union, the research network is an important instrument in tackling Africa’s critical water problems.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTHERN AFRICA: GMO laboratory project launched
The Southern Africa Development Community will soon have a network of GMO (genetically modified organism) detection laboratories, following the launch of a project in Zimbabwe last week. Scientists from nine Southern African Development Community countries attended a workshop on GMO detection in the capital Harare last week.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Universities commit to fight HIV-AIDS
Dave Buchere
Universities in Kenya have stepped up efforts to combat the spread of HIV-Aids on campuses. Realising the virus threatens the goals of a university education, institutions have incorporated HIV-Aids learning as a core unit in academic programmes or in extra-curricular activities.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA-AFRICA: Development partner or neo-coloniser?
Loro Horta*
The second China-Africa summit meeting in Egypt, which witnessed the Chinese pledge $10 billion in concessional loans to African countries, has again brought to the fore the debate over China’s growing profile in the continent. Is it a boon to Africa as China and many commentators maintain or is it a return to neo-colonial exploitation, as many critics claim? The truth, as usual, may be somewhere between the two.
First Published by YaleGlobal Online
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Huge journal profits hit universities
Adam Habib*
Can you imagine an industry in which the workers who laboriously produce the product are paid by the public purse, those that painstakingly review the quality of the product are also paid by the public purse, and then the product is sold by a private company back to public institutions at a huge profit? The company tends to be European or North American, its products are priced in euros or dollars and its publicly-paid workforce comes from across the globe as do its large profits – at the cost of the beleaguered budgets of nation states, especially those of the developing world. The situation reminds one of feudal relations established in the colonies at the height of imperialism. Yet such an industry thrives in the 21st century: this is the world of the international academic journals publication industry.
Article first published by Business Day
Full report on the University World News site


TUNISIA: Euro-Mediterranean academics meet
Academics and experts from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Europe agreed on the need to strengthen Euro-Mediterranean cooperation to modernise the education systems in the region and adjust it to scientific progress and innovation, at a Maghrebi Conference on Higher Education Reform in Tunis.
Full report on the University World News site

ZAMBIA: Non-paying students deregistered
The University of Zambia has deregistered 200 students for failing to pay their fees, the country’s Deputy Education Minister Clement Sinyinda told parliament. He said the students had been “automatically deregistered” and barred from writing examinations because of non-payment for the first semester, despite being allowed to pay in instalments.
Full report on the University World News site

SENEGAL: Students riot after fees demand
Publicly funded students attending the Catholic University of West Africa (UCAO) in Zinguinchor went on the rampage earlier this month when the university demanded they pay fees owed by the state since last year. Following the riots, the town’s mayor said the money had been budgeted for and would be paid to the university early next year.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

US-CHINA: No hope of meeting Obama’s goal
John Richard Schrock*
President Barack Obama plans to increase student exchanges with China by boosting the number of Americans studying there to 100,000. But a close accounting of American students able to study in China for more than a few weeks of sightseeing reveals the US cannot meet that goal.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Shifting balance of foreign students
Sarah King Head
Although a recent report applauds the fact that the number of foreign students attending American colleges and universities hit a new peak in 2008, a disaggregation of the data reveals worrisome underlying trends in undergraduate and graduate student numbers.
Full report on the University World News site

EU-Denmark: The flip-side of quality assurance
Ard Jongsma
Can quality assurance processes stimulate creative and innovative learning? This provocative question fuelled discussions at the packed Fourth European Quality Assurance Forum on Higher Education in Copenhagen last week where 500 participants from some 65 countries considered the good and the bad trends in European quality assurance processes.
Full report on the University World News site

POLAND: Boosting prospects for the young
Young Poles have been hit hard by the jobs crisis, says a report by the OECD. The report says the Polish government should invest more in vocational training schemes and temporarily cut the cost of employing low-skilled school-leavers. Jobs for Youth: Poland notes that the employment crisis has hit young Poles at a time when their situation in the labour market was already difficult.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Rectors defend their Bologna stance
Michael Gardner
A meeting of German university heads in Leipzig attracted further angry student protests. Around 4,000 students joined a demonstration in the East German city to emphasise their frustration over the Bologna reforms. The Rectors’ Conference, representing university heads, claimed the protests were unjustified.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Universities call for fee delay
Jan Petter Myklebust
Top university academics have called on the Swedish government to delay plans to introduce fees for foreign students. The pro-rectors said making students pay fees would affect their internationalisation work and erode international masters degrees taught in English.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Alternative network under threat
Makki Marseilles
Criminal action brought against the rector and the two vice-rectors of the Athens Technological University, on the very day of the 36th anniversary of the student uprising against the colonel’s military junta which started in the grounds of the institution, has shocked and dismayed the Greek academic community.
Full report on the University World News site

US-CANADA: Help filling forms boosts enrolments
Maya Jarjour
The simple act of assisting students to fill out financial aid forms could help increase enrolment rates, according to the findings in a new US-Canada study. It found college enrolment rates increased by 29% when individuals received assistance in completing the forms.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: New era begins for enrolments
John Gerritsen
For years, New Zealanders have been almost assured of a place at university, but as enrolments begin for the 2010 academic year it appears those days are over.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Harvard: still the world’s finest
Luke Slattery*
Veritas may be Harvard’s official motto but excellence is its raison d'être. The oldest university in the US is also, by general consensus, the world’s finest. And for President Drew Gilpin Faust, the first woman to lead the venerated Boston institution and a celebrated historian in her own right, no strategic aim rivals the importance of maintaining Harvard's position atop an increasingly competitive global higher education system.
Full report on the University World News site


EUROPE: Decade promoting women in science
A European Commission group set up to promote the participation of women in science celebrates its 10th birthday this month. Named after the location of its first meeting in 1999, the Helsinki Group meets twice a year to discuss national policies and promotes the participation and equality of women in the sciences on a Europe-wide basis.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Large Hadron Collider back in business
The world’s largest science experiment, the Large Hadron Collider, began activity again this month after more than a year of repairs. Last week, scientists circulated two beams of particles simultaneously around the collider for the first time, testing the equipment’s ability to synchronise the beams and look for proton-to-proton collisions.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

AUSTRALIA: Collapse spreads around global village
Geoff Maslen
News spreads fast in the global village created by the World Wide Web. And bad news always travels that much more quickly than any other kind – as the Australian government found to its likely cost this month when a Chinese-owned company called the Global Campus Management Group that ran a series of vocational education colleges in Melbourne and Sydney for foreign students suddenly shut its doors and went into voluntary liquidation.
Full report on the University World News site

US: University students upset about fitness class
A Pennsylvania university’s requirement that overweight undergraduates take a fitness course to receive their degrees has raised the hackles of students and the eyebrows of health and legal experts, writes Kathy Matheson for Associated Press.
More on the University World News site

US: Atheist student groups flower on campuses
The sign sits propped on a wooden chair, inviting all comers: “Ask an Atheist”. Whenever a student gets within a few feet, Anastasia Bodnar waves and smiles, trying to make a good first impression before eyes drift down to a word many Americans rank down there with ‘socialist’, writes Eric Gorski for ABC News.
More on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Indian student market has collapsed
From Arun Bhutani
The Indian market for Australian higher education has already collapsed (Fears Indian market may collapse). It is down to less than 20% in most of the Indian states because of the attacks on Indian students followed by change in the mindset of the visa processing teams from “why to reject” to “why to issue” a visa.
Full letter on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Student assessment of lecturers a waste
From Professor TK Raja
It is an exaggeration to say there is large-scale academic fraud in Vietnamese universities (Students will assess their assessors). There may be some isolated incidents of minor fraud which should be ignored but these problems are rampant in all developed countries as well.
Full letter on the University World News site


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IRAN: Scores of students detained, rights group says
Iran has detained scores of students in an apparent bid to prevent new opposition protests during annual Student Day events next month, a Western-based human rights group said, reports Reuters. Iranian police, seeking to avoid any repeat of the huge demonstrations that erupted after a disputed election in June, have warned opposition supporters against using the 7 December Student Day commemorations to hold more rallies.
More on the University World News site

US: Congress investigates ‘Climategate’ e-mails
The United States Congress has begun the process of investigating the leaked climate change e-mails from the University of East Anglia, UK, which means all attempts to suppress and shut down the scandal have failed, writes Gerald Warner for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

UK: No conspiracy, says email row climate scientist
Professor Phil Jones, the climatologist at the centre of the leaked emails row, said last week that he “absolutely” stands by his research and any suggestion that the emails provide evidence of a conspiracy to manipulate or hide data that do not support the theory of man-made climate change was “complete rubbish”, writes Leo Hickman for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

GLOBAL: After 107 years, Rhodes seeks outside funds
Payback time is looming for recipients of one of the world’s most prestigious scholarships as the Rhodes Trust is seeking funds for the first time in its 107-year history, writes Peter DeIonno for Business Report. After losing 22% of its holdings in last year’s global markets crash, the trust, which administers the Oxford-based Rhodes Scholarship programme, is down to its last £115 million (US$190 million).
More on the University World News site

CHINA: PhD explosion accompanied by quality fears
Often overlooked in the ‘miracle’ of China's rapid economic development over the past three decades is the ‘miracle’ of the massive number of PhD graduates it now produces, reports Stephen Wong for Asia Times. China is expected to replace Japan as the world’s second biggest economy after the US this year or the next in terms of gross domestic product. But by 2008, it had already surpassed the US as the world’s top producer of PhD holders – despite postgraduate programmes only resuming in 1978 after the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: New regulation for university accreditation
India’s University Grants Commission has framed a regulation making it mandatory for all universities and colleges to be certified by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), commission chairman Professor Sukhdeo Thorat said last weekend, writes Ananya Dutta for The Hindu. The move is an attempt to assess and thereafter ensure the quality of education offered in institutions of higher education, Thorat explained.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: PM admits allowing sub-par universities
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has accepted responsibility for letting several sub-standard universities open recently – but did not absolve the Ministry of Education and the rest of government from blame – VietamNet Bridge reports. Speaking in the National Assembly Dung said he, the ministry and government were all responsible for the poor quality of “some” schools – but he also said the cases were the exceptions, not the rule.
More on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: King rebuffs critics on education reform
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, 86, sees the need for speed in changing his country. He is creating secular universities, including a coeducational graduate school, and pushing for more science and technology in education, write Henry Meyer and Glen Carey for Bloomberg. A backlash by clerics, led in public by Sheikh Saad Bin Naser al-Shatri, is slowing those efforts, though the king dismissed al-Shatri from the country’s top religious body last month.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Report urges national standards for universities
Canada needs a national standard by which to judge the quality of its post-secondary education institutions, a report released last Tuesday concludes, writes Mike Barber of Canwest News Service. The Canadian Council on Learning study suggests Canadians don’t understand what “quality post-secondary education'” should be, due in part to the many jurisdictions into which colleges and universities fall.
More on the University World News site

UK: Governors urged to quit after £36 million student scam
The body which funds English universities has taken the unprecedented step of calling for the mass resignation of governors at a university accused of misusing public money, write Lucy Hodges and Richard Garner for The Independent. It follows two damning reports which revealed that London Metropolitan University falsely claimed funding for thousands of students. As a result it has been ordered to repay £36 million (US$60 million) in funding – which is expected to lead to hundreds of job losses among academic staff.
More on the University World News site

UK: Cuts will cost universities their international reputations
Universities are facing a new funding crisis with looming public spending cuts and intense competition from overseas, according to Sir Alan Langlands, head of the university funding council for England, writes Polly Curtis for The Guardian. Langlands warned that the UK risks losing its international reputation for higher education as other countries pump cash into universities to try to train people out of the recession.
More on the University World News site

US: Season of protests for University of California
Amid a season of protests across the University of California, the system’s president and the leader of its premiere campus have increasingly found themselves portrayed as the villains, writes Jack Stripling for Inside Higher Ed. While they are both working to change that, recent public relations missteps may complicate their efforts. Allegations of police brutality during a recent protest at Berkeley and faculty concerns about athletics spending are the latest PR headaches for Robert J Birgeneau, the campus chancellor. As for the system’s president, Mark Yudof has been busy defending a 32% tuition hike while suffering criticism for joking about his compensation in a New York Times interview.
More on the University World News site

US: Labour fight ends in win for students
The anti-sweatshop movement at dozens of American universities has had plenty of idealism and energy but not many victories, writes Steven Greenhouse for The New York Times. Until now. The often-raucous student movement recently announced that its pressure tactics had persuaded one of the nation’s leading sportswear companies, Russell Athletic, to rehire 1,200 workers in Honduras who lost their jobs when Russell closed its factory soon after the workers had unionised.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: President wants hands-on skills for students
President Mwai Kibaki has advised scholars in universities to bequeath students with education that imparts hands-on skills in order to overcome critical challenges facing nations, reports the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. He said there was a need for institutions of higher learning to narrow the gap between academic theory and practice in efforts to tackle various threats facing developing countries.
More on the University World News site
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