ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0044 20 December 2009
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Mass English teaching in China is giving birth to a new form of English. See the story in our News section.

Austrailian traineee teachers experience working in a Johannesburg shanty town. See the story in our News section. Photo: Karen MacGregor

A new report looks at how to respond to the education needs of huge numbers of post-school youth in South Africa. Read the stories in our Special Report.

University World News is taking a break after this week’s bumper edition. The next edition will appear on 17 January 2010. We wish readers all the best for the new year.



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AFRICA: News from across the continent

AFRICA-NORWAY: Inclusion and exclusion in universities
Anthea Garman*
Since the middle of the 20th century universities across the world have ‘massified’, dramatically opening access to those previously denied it – but, strangely, this access has done very little to change inequality, both within universities and the societies they relate to. The inequality conundrum was placed at the heart of the second Southern Africa-Nordic Centre (Sanord) conference held at Rhodes University in South Africa from 7 to 9 December.
More on the conference in the Features section
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA-GLOBAL: New spending on agricultural research
Philip Fine
Canada has put out a call for research proposals to try to solve some of the developing world’s most pressing agricultural needs. The Canadian International Development Agency recently launched the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, a five-year C$62 million (US$58.5 million) package to support research partnerships between Canadian and developing country organisations.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: New higher education directions for Carnegie
The Carnegie Corporation of New York has announced that it will commit US$30 million over the next three years to a new higher education in Africa strategy that will prioritise strengthening the next generation of academics and university leaders. The foundation has spent more than US$100 million supporting higher education in Africa in the past decade.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Sacked academics fight back
Thirteen academics sacked for going on strike three years ago are battling to be reinstated and have lodged a US$46 million claim for unfair dismissal against their former employer, Zimbabwe’s Solusi University.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Five new astronomy chairs
Munyaradzi Makoni
South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology has awarded five universities chairs in astronomy to bolster the country’s bid to host the world’s most powerful telescope – the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – and to boost research and science and engineering skills. The universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Rhodes, Witwatersrand and the Western Cape are searching for internationally recognised researchers to take up the positions.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Banks reject university graduates
Tunde Fatunde
Banks in Nigeria, hit hard by the recession, have been rationalising staff and telling graduates to accept a pay cut or be replaced. They have begun recruiting non-university graduates, especially holders of polytechnic diplomas, but trade unions have threatened industrial action if graduate salaries are reduced.
Full report on the University World News site

SPECIAL REPORT: South Africa’s post-school youth

There are some 2.8 million young South Africans who are not in employment, education or training. People in this huge, marginalised and little-studied group of 18 to 24-year-olds are missing out on opportunities and are a social ‘time bomb’. A recent study for the government, conducted by the Centre for Higher Education Transformation and the Further Education and Training Institute and funded by the Ford Foundation, probed the scope of the problem and ways to tackle it. Last month education experts and officials met in Johannesburg to discuss the findings and suggestions of Responding to the Educational Needs of Post-School Youth.

SOUTH AFRICA: Scoping the need for post-school education
Karen MacGregor
There were 2.8 million young people not in employment, education or training in South Africa in 2007 – two in five 18 to 24-year-olds – and the number could have soared to 3.2 million now. In a study of post-school youth, researchers Charles Sheppard and Nico Cloete said this “is not only an educational problem but constitutes a social and economic disaster”.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: High returns from post-school education
Karen MacGregor
South Africans who obtain a degree earn up to four times more than people who do not complete schooling, the first major study on the returns of post-school education has revealed. Degree-holders are also three times more likely to get a job – in a country where more than one in four people are unemployed.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: A jewel in Monash’s crown?
Geoff Maslen
Although Professor Ed Byrne only took up the post as Monash University’s eighth vice-chancellor in July, he has twice visited its South African offshoot in Johannesburg and is convinced it will come to be seen as “the jewel in the Monash crown”.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA-AFRICA: Tyro teachers try a new culture
Geoff Maslen
In a first for Australia, trainee teachers at Monash University in Melbourne completed a teaching round in schools in South Africa. A few minutes drive from Monash’s campus in Johannesburg is a shanty town with 60,000 impoverished people whose children attend a local primary school that uses shipping containers as classrooms. It was at the Zandspruit settlement school where the 10 diploma of education students first realised they were in a different world of learning, where the resources were minimal or non-existent, where a teacher might face 50 pupils with five to a desk; where the chances of the majority completing secondary school and going on to university were almost zero.
Full report on the University World News site


DR CONGO: Minister gives students pep talk
Democratic Republic of Congo Higher Education Minister Léonard Mashako Mamba met student representatives in Kinshasa to talk about the country’s higher education and his vision of how it should be, and to advise them to stick up for their rights during negotiations with university managements.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: AUF launches support programme
Horizons Francophones, an experimental programme of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie or AUF, aims to build the professorial corps of West and Central Africa’s universities, and help to increase their numbers of PhDs.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Negative views on reforms
African higher education must move towards “supranational management” to prepare for a United States of Africa, said Professor Lansana Konaté during a debate at the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar in Senegal. Participants expressed negative views concerning recent reforms on the continent, such as introduction of qualifications from abroad and exclusion of women.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Winners of the UN Moot Court contest
Munyaradzi Makoni
Five out of 10 shortlisted universities – two from each of the five United Nations regions – were named winners this month of the first World Human Rights Moot Court held at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. The winning universities were from Brazil, Egypt, India, Switzerland and Ukraine.
Full report on the University World News site



NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

CHINA: New form of English emerging
China’s emergence as a 21st century superpower will change the way English is used internationally, according to language experts at the University of Melbourne. Professor Joseph LoBianco and Dr Jane Orton argue the world’s communications profile will be dramatically altered because of increased English language learning in China and increased Chinese language learning in the rest of the world.
Full report on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Persuading overseas students to return
Dale Down*
The Vietnamese government is attempting to tackle its ongoing brain-drain problem by persuading students who went overseas to study to return home. Some four million Vietnamese now live and work in 101 countries around the world, including a large number of tertiary-level students in America, Australia, Canada and Singapore. In the past year, the number of higher education students studying in the US increased by more than 46%. While 87% of these are undertaking undergraduate or postgraduate courses, the remainder are involved in other types of study or training programmes that are not readily available in Vietnam or are not of a sufficiently high standard.
Full report on the University World News site

JAPAN: Climbing the rankings ladder
Douglas Rogers*
The Japanese economy may have been in the comparative doldrums for the last decade and half but concern for the internationally competitive position of Japanese universities continues. So, in the second week of December, Tokyo University of Science (Tokyo Rika Daigaku) hosted the fourth in a series of international collaboration workshops in the gracious surroundings of a nearby hotel.
Full report on the University World News site

SWEDEN: Largest research life sciences area
Jan Petter Myklebust
A consortium of three universities along with city and regional authorities and four private companies have announced plans to build the world’s largest area for research in the life sciences.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Australian recruiter signs up US universities
One of the world’s biggest student recruitment companies, IDP Education, has just recruited 11 US institutions as customers of its international student placement services. The Australian-based firm is jointly owned by 38 Australian universities, is a leading online recruitment company and is one-third owner of the IELTS English proficiency testing system with the British Council and Cambridge University.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Student protests continue
Michael Gardner
Students are continuing their education strike campaign against implementation of the Bologna reforms, introduction of tuition fees and insufficient financial support. Lecture halls have been occupied at 80 universities throughout the country. In some cases the student demands have been backed by university heads while in Bonn the City Council has demonstrated its sympathy with the campaigns.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Injured rector resigns
Makki Marseilles
The Rector of Athens University, Christos Kittas, who was attacked and injured by a group of youths invading the institution, tendered his resignation immediately he was released from hospital, saying the reason was mental and physical exhaustion.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Expert group sets research area conditions
Jan Petter Myklebust
A high profiled Expert Group with 13 prominent members has delivered an extensive report on the continuation of the work for the European Research Area originally planned for 2010. The report takes stock of the research and innovation systems in Europe “in the context of global trends”, notably the financial crisis, and examines the experiences gained from the Lisbon strategy while addressing the need for more fundamental changes and radical reforms.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Marketisation, globalisation and universities
Anthea Garman*
“Despite the proclaimed virtues of globalisation, there is an all too evident closing of minds and hearts,” said Professor Saleem Badat, Vice-chancellor of Rhodes University, at the South Africa-Nordic Centre (Sanord) conference on Inclusion and Exclusion in Higher education held at the university from 7 to 9 December. “Arrogant power, narrow economic interests and dubious orthodoxies” are ruling thinking about what universities should now be and do.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Greatest challenge to higher education?
Dale Down*
Recent bombings in Somalia and Iraq have brought the question of security of higher education institutions to the fore. In the first of two recent incidents, a suicide bomber disguised as a woman blew himself up at a graduation ceremony for medical students at a hotel in Mogadishu in Somalia.
Full report on the University World News site


In this interview, one of biology’s best-known taxonomists, Professor Quentin Wheeler, answers questions from Dr John Richard Schrock.

Quentin Wheeler is Vice-president and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University where he is also Director of the International Institute for Species Exploration and the Virginia M Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment in the School of Life Sciences. Wheeler’s research interests include the morphology, taxonomy and phylogeny of beetles, systematic biology theory, and the role of taxonomy in biodiversity exploration and conservation. In 2007 he created the International Institute for Species Exploration to partner with museums and botanical gardens worldwide to discover and describe Earth's estimated 10 million or more species.
Full interview on the University World News site


INDIA: Human resources crunch for nuclear dream
Raghavendra Verma
India’s atomic energy industry is preparing for a major expansion but the limited supply of trained people could turn out to be a serious handicap. Over the next 10 years, the country’s nuclear power generation is expected to go from 4,000 megawatt (MW) to 20,000 MW and, if steps are not taken to boost education and training, experts say there could be a 40% to 50% shortfall in suitable manpower.
Full report on University World News site

CANADA: Medical and sports innovation
Maya Jarjour
Four new technologies that could revolutionise the study of Alzheimer’s and dementia are set to hit the market as early as 2010 thanks to a commercial licence involving from the Université de Montréal. Univalor, a group focused on transferring inventions to industry leaders, and Cognitive Sensing Inc (CSI), will work with the university under the agreement.
Full report on University World News website

EUROPE: Animal testing controls to be tightened
Alan Osborn
An agreement in principle on new rules for animal testing has been reached by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers, affecting universities and commercial researchers. This will strengthen European controls over experiments on animals without apparently threatening any loss of research to countries with looser controls.
Full report on University World News site

EUROPE: Access to legal traineeships conditional
Anca Gurzu
Law graduates from a European Union country who want to complete a legal traineeship in another member state may need to prove broad and in-depth knowledge of the national law of the host country, according to the European Court of Justice. The judgment is based on the case of Polish national Krzystof Peúla, whose application to serve as a legal trainee in Germany had been rejected by the Ministry of Justice of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania region, based on insufficient knowledge of German law.
Full report on the University World News site


UK: A thoughtless approach to research funding
What is the point of a university? Is it to challenge its students and push back the frontiers of knowledge? Or is it to turn out productive, profitable, commercial research? asks Ralph Wedgwood, a professor of philosophy at Merton College, Oxford, in a commentary in The Telegraph. He argues that the Labour government’s plans for university funding could spell the end of serious research.
More on the University World News site

US: Institutional data management in higher education
A study of institutional data management by the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, titled Institutional Data Management in Higher Education and written by Ronald Yanosky, examines the policies and practices by which higher education institutions effectively collect, protect and use digital information assets to meet academic and business needs, according to its abstract.
More on the University World News site

US: New York study of industry-university partnerships
The Task Force on Diversifying the New York State Economy through Industry-Higher Education Partnerships issued its final report last week. Governor David Paterson created the Task Force in May to examine how the State can better utilise its university-based research and development resources to drive economic growth. David Skorton, task force chair and President of Cornell University, joined fellow members to present their findings at the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan, reports
More on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

GLOBAL: 121 hours of uninterrupted lecturing
Last Monday, Errol Tapiwa Muzawazi, a 25-year-old law student, established a new world record in the category of The Longest Lecture after lecturing for 121 hours. The previous record belonged to an Indian professor who lectured for 120 hours in 2007.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Russia(n) is back
At the College of Holy Cross this year, language instructors had to scramble to set up a second section of introductory Russian – for the first time since the Cold War – writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. Not only are more students enrolling, but different kinds of students. “Our core has always been those with a love of the literature and we are still getting them, but now we are getting students with all sorts of other interaction with Russian culture,” said Amy Adams, associate professor of Russian.
More on the University World News site

THAILAND: Universities ban graduation cross-dressing
A council of Thai university presidents has turned down a request from a transvestites’ advocacy group to cross-dress at graduation ceremonies as “inappropriate”, media reports said last weekend, reports Thaindian News.
More on the University World News site

UK: Drug dealers enrol at universities to get loans
Heroin and crack dealers are enrolling at British universities to secure thousands of pounds of interest free loans and cheap accommodation, according to police, reports The Telegraph. Officers are investigating those who have enrolled on courses to secure a student loan of up to £6,928 (US$11,173) a year, which they then use to buy a stash of Class A drugs.
More on the University World News site


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IRAN: Students stage rival rallies across nation
Iran on Tuesday witnessed duelling student protests at universities in the ongoing fallout over footage showing the burning of a picture of the Islamic republic’s founder, reports Nasser Karimi for The Associated Press. State television has repeatedly shown images, ostensibly taken during opposition protests on 7 December, of unidentified hands burning the picture of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a shocking action for most Iranians.
More on the University World News site

IRAN: Student writes of hope, fear over protest
On 7 December tens of thousands of students marched at universities across Iran, in the most significant anti-government protests in the country for months. The Associated Press asked a 20-year-old philosophy undergraduate at Tehran's Allameh Tabatabei University to record his thoughts and experiences in a diary before, during and after the protests. He provided the diary on condition of anonymity, because some of his friends have been arrested or suspended for contacting the foreign media.
More on the University World News site

US: Students attack Berkeley leader’s home
The protests over budget cuts to higher education in California have repeatedly featured civil disobedience in recent weeks, with numerous building takeovers and sit-ins, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. But the protests took a more violent turn last weekend with an attack on the home of the chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley.
More on the University World News site

UK: Climategate – Science not faked, but not pretty
E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled sceptics and discussed hiding data – but the messages don’t support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press. The 1,073 e-mails examined by five AP reporters – about a million words in total – show that scientists harboured private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. But the exchanges do not undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
More on the University World News site

US: Universities should prepare for postdoc unions
Research universities should prepare for the possibility that postdoctoral researchers will work to form unions by developing consistent policies on how postdocs are treated and establishing student support groups as alternatives to unions, a panel of deans said on Thursday at the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools, writes Josh Keller for The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Wired Campus blog.
More on the University World News site

UK: Student support may be targeted in huge cutback
Student grants and subsidised loans may bear the brunt of the £600 million (US$968 million) cuts announced for the academy in the government’s pre-budget report, sources within the sector predict, writes Melanie Newman for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Accreditation mandatory for higher education
Accreditation is to be made mandatory for all institutes of higher education regardless of whether they get government grants, parliament was informed recently, reports Thaindian News. “The law has been drafted and we are engaged in inter-ministerial discussions,” Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said during question hour in the Rajya Sabha, adding that the law would be brought soon before cabinet and hopefully introduced in the budget session of parliament starting in Febuary 2010.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: 10-year plan to reform higher education
Australia’s Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, last Monday released a discussion paper that invites universities to comment on the government’s plans to link higher education funding to university performance, reports the Gov Monitor. The “An Indicator Framework for Higher Education Performance Funding” paper outlines the framework that will be used to determine the allocation of in AU$135 million (US$120 million) per annum in performance funding.
More on the University World News site

US: First Amendment in the classroom
At a time when faculty groups are increasingly worried that a Supreme Court ruling is being used to limit the free speech rights of public college professors, a federal judge has declined a college’s request to do just that, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

US: Decision-makers gambled and Harvard lost
If an ordinary corporation had the kind of fiscal year Harvard University just had, some of its directors would be gone, write Fred Abernathy and Harry Lewis for The Boston Globe. Long-term investments down $11 billion; another $1.8 billion lost by top management speculating with cash accounts; another half-billion gone in an untimely exit from a debt rate gambit. The institution left so illiquid that it was forced to sell assets and issue bonds at the worst possible time, just to pay the bills.
More on the University World News site

US: For-profit online colleges dominating soldier education
For-profit online colleges are taking over higher education of the US military, lured by a Defense Department pledge of free schooling up to $4,500 a year for active members of the armed services, costing taxpayers more than $3 billion since 2000, writes Daniel Golden for Bloomberg. The schools account for 29% of college enrolments and 40% of the half-billion-dollar annual tab in federal tuition assistance for active-duty students, displacing public and private non-profit colleges, according to Defense Department and military data.
More on the University World News site

US: Suit against university nets $78.5 million settlement
Lawyers struck a $78.5 million deal in a long-running false claims suit that accused the University of Phoenix of rewarding recruiters for enrolling students, according to a settlement agreement announced on Monday, writes Kate Moser for The Recorder.
More on the University World News site

UGANDA: Education finance a formidable challenge
Lack of finance is the leading cause of drop-outs from institutions of higher learning in Uganda, writes Steven Tendo for The Monitor. Every year, hundreds of students leave due to failure to raise tuition fees, which has prompted government to embark on an education finance scheme to tackle the problem, starting next year.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Students vote for secure jobs
Job security wins out over enjoyment of life when it comes to South Africa’s student populace and its perceptions of future employment, writes James Monteiro for This is one of the findings of the latest student survey by employer branding spec ialist Magnet Communications, which interviewed a record 26,100 graduates from 23 tertiary institutions.
More on the University World News site

SINGAPORE: New university centre for Chinese officials
Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has set up a centre to enhance the training of Chinese officials and public administrators and spearhead China-related research on public administration and economic management, the official Chinese Xinhua news agency reports.
More on the University World News site
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