ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0053 09 May 2010
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Scientists say world leaders are failing to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss. See the Science Scene section.
North Korea’s first foreign-funded university opens its doors to students next week. See the News and Features sections.
NL3 - Africa
A 99-year-old World War II veteran recently graduated from a university in Ghana. See the Newsbriefs section.

University World News was the official media partner to the Unesco World Conference on higher education, held in Paris from 5-8 July 2009.


AFRICA: News from across the continent

ZIMBABWE: Region commits to rebuilding universities
Karen MacGregor
Universities in Southern Africa have rallied to support the rebuilding of higher education in Zimbabwe, in what could evolve into a model of regional collaboration. Following a meeting of vice-chancellors in Cape Town, convened by the Southern African Regional Universities Association, a special envoy to Zimbabwe will be appointed to identify priority needs and develop an action plan to assist a sector devastated by a decade of political turmoil.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Research governance initiative launched
Munyaradzi Makoni
A new project to boost management of research at African universities has been launched. University Research Governance, started by Canada’s International Development Research Centre, aims to focus universities on usable research outputs to enhance socio-economic development.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Lateral thinking for research funding
Linda Nordling
Last month African exporters learned that it is bad business to put all your eggs in one basket. As the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud grounded flights to Europe, pineapples in Ghana and roses in Kenya rotted in warehouses and workers were told to stay at home. The lesson also applies to Africa’s academics.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Virtual university to help control cancer
Wagdy Sawahel
The International Atomic Energy Agency and the Swiss-based pharmaceutical firm Roche launched an initiative – Education for Cancer in African Regions, or EDUCARE – on 28 April to help tackle acute shortages of skilled cancer professionals in Africa. The project is being piloted in Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Private hostels rip off students
Tunde Fatunde
The increasing number of students in tertiary institutions in several Nigerian cities has caused serious accommodation problems and campus hostels can no longer cope with demand. The establishment of private hostels off-campus was initially perceived as a solution but landlords have taken advantage of the high demand by upping rentals and students are reeling under the financial burden. They have turned to the government for help.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Falling quality prompts ban on new law schools
Ashraf Khaled
The deterioration of once-elite law schools in Egypt recently prompted Minister of Higher Education Hani Hilal to announce a ban on the creation of new schools for the next 10 years and a drastic reduction in the number of students to be admitted to the country’s 15 existing institutions. His decision met with mixed responses.
Full report on the University World News site

NAMIBIA: Teacher colleges merge with university
Moses Magadza
Four of Namibia’s long-standing teacher training colleges merged with the University of Namibia last month, pushing the institution’s enrolment to more than 14,000 students. It is hoped that incorporation of the colleges will lead to an improvement in educational standards.
Full report on the University World News site

MADAGASCAR-SENEGAL: Protests over unpaid grants
Jane Marshall
Unpaid student grants and benefits have led to violent demonstrations in Antsiranana, Madagascar – in which one student was killed in a confrontation with security forces – and in Dakar, Senegal.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Students in court for fake receipts
A Special Correspondent
Twelve University of Zimbabwe students have appeared in court after attempting to write examinations using fake receipts. Many students have been ejected from universities for failing to raise fees in United States dollars.
Full report on the University World News site




TUNISIA: Tackling graduate unemployment
Wagdy Sewahel
Tunisia has unveiled a new savings-and-loan programme to lower the unemployment rate of nearly 15% for new university graduates. The scheme will offer graduates a chance to generate enough capital to launch their own businesses.
Full report on the University World News site

GHANA: Ninety-nine-year-old graduates
Kajsa Hallberg Adu
In February 99-year-old World War II veteran and former teacher, Akasease Kofi Boakye Yiadom, graduated from the Presbyterian University College Business School in Abetifi, Ghana. The elderly graduate was featured on CNN’s Inside Africa programme, and he took the opportunity to call on fellow graduates to be loyal and not join the brain drain.
Full report on the University World News site

SENEGAL: Collaboration to fight parasite diseases
The University of Gaston Berger of Saint-Louis and the Senegalese non-governmental organisation Espoir pour la Santé have signed a higher education and research agreement for collaboration in the health sciences, with priority given to fighting malaria and schistosomia.
Full report on the University World News site

BURKINA FASO: Scientific agreement with French
Social and health sciences are among priority areas in an agreement of cooperation between Burkina Faso’s National Centre of Scientific Research and Technology and the French Institute of Research for Development.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

NORTH KOREA: First international university opens
Yojana Sharma
The first intake of hand-picked North Korean students is set to start classes next week at Pyongyang’s first foreign-funded university. This follows months of delays because of political tensions internationally and between North and South Korea.
Full report on the University World News site
See also our Features section this week for background to this development

CHINA: Beijing to recruit 10,000 more foreign students
Beijing plans to increase the number of overseas university students by 14% and send more students abroad as well, according to a report in the Global Times, an English-language offshoot of the official Communist Party’s newspaper the People’s Daily.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Students doing less study
John Gerritsen
New research shows modern students in the United States do less study than their predecessors in the 1960s. The research by professors Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks found students in 1961 spent an average of 40 hours a week on academic work but by 2003 that had fallen to just 27 hours.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Foreign universities bill tabled
Alya Mishra
A controversial bill to regulate the entry and operation of foreign education institutions was introduced to India’s parliament last week amid opposition objections that signal a rocky path ahead for the proposed opening up of the nation’s higher education sector. The Foreign Educational Institutes Bill was one of four major acts tabled in the lower house of parliament by Human Resources Minister Kapil Sibal in a bid to reform the university system.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: Mobile researchers need better conditions
Alan Osborn
In the drive to create a hi-tech Europe, the usefulness of researchers is sharply skewed by national regulations and practices that bar easy movement between European Union countries. If there is ever to be a genuine European research effort rather than a score or so of national ones, ways will have to be found of overcoming these barriers, says the League of European Research Universities.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Curriculum reforms a must
Wide-ranging curriculum reforms and more investment in higher education are needed to meet Europe’s education and societal demands, according to a report by the European Parliament’s culture and education committee.
Full report on the University World News site

EC: Commission to boost research and innovation
The European Commission has unveiled a plan to simplify procedures for taking part in EU-funded research projects with the aim of making participation transparent and attractive to the best researchers and innovative companies in Europe and beyond.
Full report on the University World News site

DENMARK: A university centre in China
Denmark has signed an agreement with China to establish a Danish-Chinese University Centre. In Beijing last month, Danish Science Minister Charlotte Sahl-Madsen signed the agreement with the President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dr Bai Chunli.
Full report on the University World News site


NORTH KOREA: University opens students to the world
Yojana Sharma
James Kim is still trying to understand what led to the unusual invitation from the North Korean government to establish the country’s first foreign-funded university. Referring to now-departed Soviet-era staff, Kim said that since the Eastern bloc collapsed 20 years ago, North Korea did not have many ‘brothers’ any more to send their students.
Full report on the University World News

GREECE: Almost magical qualities of number 10
Makki Marseilles
The problems of Greek education in general and higher education in particular are legion. But while the authorities appear lost in personal arguments and jockeying for position, the magical properties of the number 10, the minimum grade for entering university, are provoking the wrath of academics and angry reactions from all sections of the community. Teachers are threatening prolonged industrial action even during the examination period.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: The disjointed growth of university staffing
Ian R Dobson
The Australian university sector has increased rapidly over the past two decades but the acceleration in student numbers has far exceeded staff growth, according to an article in the journal People and Place . The academic staff component for teaching has grown at a much lower rate than for academic research and there has been high growth in numbers of staff who support academic activities. The major ‘villain’ in this disjointed growth is federal governments that have divided funding into smaller and smaller portions, and demanded more and more time and resources to apply for such funding and be accountable for it.
Full article on the University World News site


RUSSIA: Court rejects appeal by imprisoned scientist
Jonathan Travis*
A court in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk has rejected an appeal for the release of academic Igor Sutyagin, who is serving a 15-year sentence for espionage. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that Sutyagin, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Canada Institute, was sentenced in 2004 for allegedly passing classified information about Russia’s nuclear weapons to a London-based firm.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site


GLOBAL: World fails to meet biodiversity target
The world’s leaders have failed to deliver on a pledge to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, scientists say.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Pressure-cooker to extract bio-oil
Wagdy Sawahel
Heating and squishing microalgae in a pressure-cooker could be the fastest way to turn the algae into a crude bio-oil.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: New tunnel to model extreme weather
A Canadian university is to build a hexagonal wind tunnel that will for the first time allow simulation of tornadoes and other high-intensity wind systems.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

US: Limits to First Amendment guarantees
Sarah King Head
The US judiciary has reversed a trend by upholding a ban on alcohol advertisements in media associated with post-secondary educational institutions. A legal battle between the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and two campus newspapers led to the overturning of a cornerstone of the American Constitution: the First Amendment right to freedom of commercial speech.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Graduation gowns now recycle or biodegrade
College seniors across the US are getting ready to toss their caps in the air and their gowns into recycling bins, writes Holly Ramer for Associated Press. For years, eco-conscious campuses have been trying to reduce the environmental impact of graduation ceremonies by using less electricity or printing programmes on recycled paper. Now, academic apparel manufacturers are jumping in with ‘green’ options ranging from disposable gowns that decompose quickly in soil to gowns made of recycled plastic bottles that can be reused or recycled.
More on the University World News site

US: Academic band turns literature into rock and roll
There are plenty in higher education who devote themselves to interpreting rock and roll as literature. Fewer devote themselves to the interpreting literature as rock and roll, writes Steve Kolowich for Inside Higher Ed. But that is what four California academics – three at Stanford University and another at the University of California, Los Angeles – set out to do with their band, Glass Wave.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Higher education does not make you happy
Put the book down and step away from the library. While you’re at it, forget about the exams and essays. In fact, just forget everything you’ve ever highlighted in a textbook or heard in a lecture hall, reports Judith Ireland for ABC. Researchers in Australia have found that higher education does not make you happy.
More on the University World News site


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FRANCE: Super-university aims to be in global top 10
In farm fields south of Paris, billions of euros are being ploughed into a new modern university campus designed to rival Harvard, MIT and Cambridge as one of the world’s best, reports AFP. The Paris-Saclay super-campus is France’s answer to years of decline in higher education, with the result that the nation’s best university only ranks 40th in the world.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Top universities have 34% teaching vacancies
There is a stark difference between the hype around higher education and the real picture, reports The Times of India. The top universities in India have 34% vacancies in teaching jobs. Twenty-two central universities with 11,085 sanctioned posts have 3,777 vacant posts, parliament was told on Wednesday.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Sibal inaugurates nationwide e-library project
The National Library and Information Services Infrastructure for Scholarly Content – N-LIST – was formally launched by Kapil Sibal, India’s Minister for Human Resource Development, in New Delhi last week, reports India Edunews.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Average tenured professor earns more than $100,000
The average salary for full-time tenured professors at many leading Canadian universities is well above $100,000, according to new figures from Statistics Canada, reports Bradley Bouzane for Canwest News Service.
More on the University World News site

US: Shots still reverberate for survivors of Kent State
Out in the world, when people talk about the shootings at Kent State University on 4 May 1970, they call it ‘Kent State’, reports Noah Adams for National Public Radio. But in the small town of Kent, 35 miles south of Cleveland, and on the university campus, they call it ‘May 4th’. It was 40 years ago last Tuesday that the shootings – which killed four people and wounded nine others – stunned America.
More on the University World News site

US: Professors and social media
Professors, particularly those in the senior ranks, might have a reputation for being leery of social media. But they are no Luddites when it comes to Web 2.0 tools such as Facebook and YouTube, according to a new survey released last week, writes Steve Kolowich for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Universities to open doors to students from China
Taiwan’s universities are set to begin accepting Chinese students this autumn after the (opposition) Democratic Progressive Party unexpectedly indicated it would no longer attempt to halt amendments to bills that would allow Chinese students to study in Taiwan, Vincent Y Chao and Flora Wang report for The Taipei Times.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Research not bad, but not stellar
Australia conducts influential, world-class research across 19 of 22 fields but is still a middle-ranking research power among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, according to the country's first “state of the innovation nation” report, writes Guy Healy for The Australian.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Enrolment chaos undermines degree quality
Kenyan universities are admitting students for courses they have not registered with the Commission for Higher Education, deepening a simmering higher education quality crisis and exposing graduates to the risk of rejection in the labour market, writes Mwaura Kimani for Business Daily.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Axe set to fall on universities
At least half of Scotland’s universities are cutting their student numbers – at a time when applications to higher education institutions are at an all-time high – writes Andrew Denholm for The Herald.
More on the University World News site

UAE: Clarification needed on accreditation
The time is ripe for the government to recognise institutions that are not accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said academics from Free Zone universities in Dubai, reports Amelia Naidoo for Gulf News.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: University to waive fees of s ex workers
Indira Gandhi National Open University, one of the world’s largest universities, has decided to waive the fees of s ex workers and street children enrolling for its courses to help them become educated and empowered, reports India Edunews.
More on the University World News site
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