ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0054 23 May 2010
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In the latest edition of the Canadian journal Academic Matters, University of Illinois education professor William Ayers argues that the trend towards ‘academic capitalism’ gives academics the moment to speak up – and act up. See HE Research and Commentary.
Students have been caught up in the civil conflict besetting Thailand, which has claimed dozens of lives in the past two weeks. See our articles in the News and Features sections. Credit: AFP
In his new book, The Great Brain Race, Ben Wildavsky contends that international competition for the brightest minds is transforming the world of higher education – and the revolution should be welcomed. See the Features 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

AFRICA: Research concentrated in three countries
Wagdy Sawahel
Africa has extremely uneven distribution of research and innovative capacity, according to a recent report. Research is concentrated in Egypt in the north, Nigeria in the middle and South Africa in the south. Africa produces only some 27,000 papers a year – about the same volume of published output as The Netherlands – but the continent has relatively high representation, as a share of world publications, in fields related to natural resources.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Universities must clear huge admissions backlog
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya’s public universities, long plagued by an admissions crisis, are in for a shock as they move to enrol tens of thousands of extra students to clear a backlog that has for decades forced students to wait for two years after high school to enter public higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Student unrest, claims of political meddling
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya’s premier institution of higher education, the University of Nairobi, was last week shut indefinitely following unrest over disputed student elections. Educationists pointed fingers at the country’s politicians for meddling in student affairs.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Brain drain graduates must repay state aid
A Special Correspondent
Zimbabwean university students who receive state assistance are now required to surrender a third of their salaries if they choose to work in foreign countries on completing their studies. The cash-strapped government has set up a special cadet scheme whose stringent conditions it hopes will stem a crippling brain drain that has hit most of the country’s economic sectors.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: TIA and MIT join diseases patent pool
Munyaradzi Makoni
South Africa’s Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) this month became the first government body worldwide to join the Open Innovation Patent Pool on Neglected Tropical Diseases. It followed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in signing up to the initiative that promises to stimulate local innovations in the fight against diseases.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: New peace institute to help resolve conflicts
Tunde Fatunde
Nigerian officials and diplomats have become increasingly concerned that very few people involved in conflict resolution are trained to either prevent or settle disputes. The University of Ibadan recently signed a memorandum of understanding with two government agencies to establish an Institute of Peace that will train people in this crucial field.
Full report on the University World News site

SENEGAL: From ‘brick’ to ‘click’ universities
Jane Marshall
Officials from the World Bank were in Dakar this month to set out their vision for Senegal’s higher education sector and to prepare for the launch of a new development strategy. Meanwhile, current problems in the country’s education system were aired during their visit, said press reports.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Higher education summit revisited

Last month the South African government convened a Stakeholder Summit on Higher Education, to debate the transformation of universities two decades after political reform began and to chart an agenda for the future. University World News produced a Special Report on the summit. Here we report on some of the key issues that emerged from the historic event – the lack of an academic perspective, the differentiation debate, and the investigation into four-year bachelor degrees aimed at tackling high student drop-out rates.

SOUTH AFRICA: Academic perspective lacking
John Higgins*
South Africa’s recent Stakeholder Summit on Higher Education rightly argued the need for a national conversation on the future development of higher education. With the primary and secondary education sectors largely in disarray, and little prospect of correcting that in the foreseeable future, Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande called for universities to think afresh.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: New university clusters emerge
Karen MacGregor
New clusters of universities have emerged in South Africa in the past decade, with fewer truly research-focused institutions following mergers, according to a study by the Centre for Higher Education Transformation, CHET. Three clusters revealed by an analysis of universities using nine input and output variables look very different to the formal categories used to differentiate the tertiary sector – with potentially major implications for policy.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Universities ponder four-year degrees
Sharon Dell
The government-led drive to open the doors of South African universities to poor students not only places strain on the national budget, it is also set to put greater pressure on academics and institutions to embrace changing curricula and improve their knowledge about education and alternative approaches to teaching and learning.
Full report on the University World News site




JAPAN-NORTH AFRICA: Boost for university cooperation
Wagdy Sawahel
Japan and six North African states – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia – are to boost cooperation between universities. This was agreed at a summit held on 14 May in Tunis and attended by leaders and representatives from several Japanese and African universities.
Full report on the University World News site

SENEGAL: Minister’s visit ends student strike
Students at Senegal’s University of Thičs have resumed their studies after a month-long strike, following a visit from Amadou Tidiane Bâ, Minister for Higher Education, Universities and Regional University Centres. Bâ said he was taking “effective measures” to meet the students’ demands, according to press reports.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: India to finance e-network
India is financing a US$50 million project to establish a pan-African online ‘e-network’ linking the 53 countries of the African Union, reported Le Potentiel of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, where the programme was launched this month.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: Climate change: the challenge of our times
Mandy Garner
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times but it is one that is steeped in controversy. The recent ‘Climategate’ affair, in which emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit were leaked and used to allege scientific misconduct, has shown just how politically contentious the issue is.
A special report on this crucial topic, with accounts from around the world on how universities are engaged with the issue, will be published in our next edition on 30 May.
Full story on the University World News site

THAILAND: Students flee after military crackdown
Yojana Sharma
Several Thai student leaders who had come out on the side of Red Shirt anti-government protesters in recent weeks are believed to have fled Bangkok after receiving threats from Yellow Shirt pro-government groups. Despite the three-day curfew imposed on Bangkok and other provinces in the wake of Wednesday’s government crackdown, unconfirmed reports said an unknown number of students had gone underground, dispersing to areas outside the capital. According to the Financial Times on Friday, more than 80 people had been killed during the bloody demonstrations over the past 10 days.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: New agency uncouples funding and regulation
Alya Mishra
As part of its ongoing drive to overhaul the higher education sector and increase the quality of its universities, India’s education ministry under Human Resources Minister Kapil Sibal is planning to create a new inter-university funding agency. But the agency has been stripped of any regulatory powers.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Undergraduates should pay more
Diane Spencer
Student fees will have to rise if Britain is to keep its world-class reputation in higher education, the Russell Group of 20 elite universities has warned. In its submission to Lord Browne’s review of higher education funding, the group predicts its members could be faced with an overall deficit of more than Ł1.1 billion (US$1.6 billion) by 2012-13. But it does not recommend a big increase in overseas student fees.
Full report on the University World News site

US: California’s online pilot project: brave new world?
Sarah King Head
Embracing the future at the University of California will undoubtedly bring new challenges when it evaluates the results of a recent decision to develop expanded online undergraduate and distance learning course offerings.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Universities disappointed by budget
John Gerritsen
The New Zealand government delivered its annual budget on Thursday but the country’s universities received slim pickings.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Beyond the ivory tower: effecting change
Sarah King Head
What happens when internationally recognised academics join forces to solve problems of global significance? Real world and sustainable results, the things Professors Beyond Borders intends to achieve.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: New international university network
Seven research-intensive universities based in seven countries have joined to form a new international network. The group has called itself the Matiriki Network of Universities , which it describes as “a select group recognised for their international practice in teaching and learning”.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Internationalising Europe
From the UK International Unit*
European Union involvement in higher education has come a long way since the first Socrates Erasmus student exchanges in 1989. These first attempts to introduce a ‘European dimension’ to higher education were intensified with the onset of the intergovernmental Bologna Process in 1999. Earlier this month, higher education ministers from 27 EU member states debated internationalisation of higher education and its importance for Europe’s universities.
Full report on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Nanotech institute launched
Wagdy Sawahel
Israel has launched a US$150 million Institute for Nanotechnology to promote the development of a knowledge-based economy. Located at Bar-Ilan University, the Bar Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials or BINA will have 39 laboratories and 340 researchers, technicians and graduate and doctoral students taking part in 38 multidisciplinary working groups in various fields in the sciences, including physics, chemistry and life sciences.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Narrowing the education deficit
From the UK International Unit*
Teach For India, a fellowship programme inspired by Teach For America in the US and the UK’s Teach First, was launched in 2008. It recruits and trains outstanding university and college graduates and young professionals to teach full time in low-income schools in India for two years.
Full report on the University World News site


THAILAND: Student movement emerges from the shadows
Yojana Sharma
Thailand’s student movement appeared to be dormant in recent years but has now emerged as a force supporting the anti-government Red Shirts, with the Thai authorities keeping a close watch on student groups.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: From brain drain to brain growth
Diane Spencer
The former education editor of US News &World Report has researched how international competition for the brightest minds is transforming the world of higher education. In his new book, The Great Brain Race: How global universities are reshaping the world, Ben Wildavsky concludes that the revolution should be welcomed, not feared.
Full report on the University World News site


US: Class Warriors
William Ayers
Professor William Ayers, distinguished professor of education and senior university scholar at the University of Illinois in Chicago, was banned last year from speaking at the University of Nebraska. Here he argues in the Canadian journal Academic Matters that the current trend towards ‘academic capitalism’ gives faculty the moment to speak up – and act up.
Full article on the University World News site


ISRAEL: Academic denied entry to West Bank
Jonathan Travis*
Israeli immigration officials prevented US scholar Noam Chomsky from entering the West Bank last week. Professor Chomsky, renowned for his work on linguistics and philosophy, was planning to deliver a lecture at Birzeit University, BBC News reports. Chomsky said he was denied entry because the Israeli government has long objected to his controversial writings and speeches.
More Academic Freedom reports on the University World News site


UK: Fell atio by fruit bats prolongs cop ulation
Oral s ex is widely used in human foreplay but rarely documented in other animals. Fell atio has been recorded in bonobos Pan paniscus but even then functions largely as play behaviour among juvenile males, according to research conducted by biologists from the University of Bristol and three Chinese higher education institutions.
See our Uni-Lateral story on how an Irish academic was accused of s exual harassment after showing a journal article of this study to a female colleague.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Ice melts, Greenland rises
Greenland is covered by ice up to two kilometres thick – but now it is melting and as a result the land is rising. What’s more, scientists at the University of Miami say the rate of uplift is accelerating.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Figuring out the oceans’ vital statistics
Scientists in the US are updating estimates of the size and volume of the world’s oceans. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are working on the numbers.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

IRELAND: Bat behaviour leads to s ex charge
John Walshe
Dr Dylan Evans is now a household name in Ireland and on the blogosphere for showing a female colleague an article about how fruit bats prolong cop ulation through fell atio. When the woman lodged a complaint of s exual harassment, the university imposed a two-year period of intensive monitoring and counselling on him.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Tests on stray cats? We did not!
Huang Yuli, China Daily
Peking University went into damage control mode earlier this month when its health science centre denied allegations that students had conducted experiments on stray cats in laboratory classes.
Full report on the University World News site


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KYRGYZSTAN: Fatal ethnic fighting erupts at university
A deadly ethnic riot broke out on Wednesday at a university in a major southern city in Kyrgyzstan, where the country’s interim government has only tenuous control and where the police have largely stopped working rather than take sides in a political conflict, writes Andrew E Kramer for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

BALOCHISTAN: Universities close down after clashes
Academic activities were suspended in four public sector universities and two colleges in Balochistan on Tuesday, reports the Express Tribune. This came after 46 students were injured in clashes between Baloch and Pakhtun student organisations in different universities of Balochistan on Monday.
More on the University World News site

PUERTO RICO: Massive support for university strike
Striking University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus students received their strongest show of support yet when some 8,000 people gathered on Tuesday in front of the institution’s main gates in solidarity with their plight, reports the Daily Sun in this and the subsequent stories with links to earlier editions that follow. The students have been protesting against budget cuts and university policies.
More on the University World News site

IRAN: Student activists receive heavy prison terms
Two detained student activists, Bahareh Hedayat and Milad Asadi, were handed heavy imprisonment terms by the Iranian judiciary last week, reports Radio Zamaneh.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Students wounded in university knife rampage
At least five men rampaged across a college campus in China wounding 13 students, including one whose hand they chopped off, writes Jonathan Landreth for The Times. The attack in Haikou, capital of the southern island province of Hainan, came after a recent rash of knife violence at Chinese elementary schools.
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Chomsky barred from West Bank
A fierce debate broke out in Israel last week amid finger pointing and hand wringing over the country’s refusal last weekend to permit the linguist Noam Chomsky, an icon of the American left, to enter the occupied West Bank from Jordan, writes Ethan Bronner for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

US: Flare-up over ‘illegal’ immigrant students
A minor traffic violation by Jessica Colotl, a senior at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University, is turning out to be anything but a minor incident, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. Colotl is from Mexico and doesn’t have the legal authorisation to live permanently in the United States. While Colotl is, by all reports, an excellent student, her situation (uncovered because of her traffic violation) has set off demands that the state do more to block the enrolment of students who are in the country illegally.
More on the University World News site

US: College bound, DNA swab in hand
Instead of the usual required summer-reading book, this year’s incoming freshmen at the University of California, Berkeley, will get something quite different: a cotton swab on which they can, if they choose, send in a DNA sample, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times. The university said it would analyse the samples, from inside students’ cheeks, for three genes that help regulate the ability to metabolise alcohol, lactose and folates.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Universities use cash to grab top pupils
With the college entrance examination still a month away, some universities have already begun to fight for the best high school graduates by offering generous scholarships, writes Wang Wei for China Daily.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Foreign tour for 100 university officials
About 100 university officials will be sent overseas on a 24-day training course to help them build first-class universities in China, writes Wang Xiang for the Shanghai Daily. The Ministry of Education said officials selected from across the country would visit Japan, Britain, Australia and the US to “learn advanced management skills” that could help build “a batch of first-class universities by 2020,” Beijing News reported last week.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Eight institutions get self-accreditation status
Self-accreditation status has been given to eight higher education institutions for the first time in Malaysia, writes Karen Chapman for The Star. Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the institutions could now accredit their own programmes without going through the Malaysian Qualifications Agency.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Higher education enrolment could reach 15%
The increased focus on higher education in India is yielding dividends. The 11th Plan’s ambitious aim to increase enrolment in higher education to 15% could be achievable. At the end of 10th Plan in 2006 it was 10.12%, reports The Times of India.
More on the University World News site

TAIWAN: PhDs more than double, but few job opportunities
Taiwan has an increasing number of doctorate degree holders, yet it’s getting harder for them to find full-time professor jobs, local media reported yesterday, reports The China Post-Asia News. Citing data from the Ministry of Education, the reports said PhD holders increased 2.5 times, from 13,000 to 33,000, between 1999 and 2009. However, job openings at colleges and universities did not catch up with the rise.
More on the University World News site

UK: New institutions challenge the old guard
The position of the UK’s ‘old’ universities is continuing to be threatened by younger upstarts in the table compiled by The Complete University Guide in association with The Independent, writes Lucy Hodges for The Independent. Although Oxford remains at the top of the university pecking order for the third year running, with Cambridge and Imperial College London again in second and third place respectively, there has been movement in the middle ranks.
More on the University World News site

UK: Skills shortage is getting worse, bosses warn
Employers fear they will be unable recruit students with the skills they need as the economic recovery kicks in, a new survey reveals, writes Anna Bawden for The Guardian. Nearly half of organisations told researchers they were already struggling to find staff with skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem), while even more companies expect to experience shortages of employees with Stem skills in the next three years.
More on the University World News site

UK: Rich students widen ‘gulf’ in access to top universities
Bright children from the poorest homes are seven times less likely to go to top universities than their wealthier peers, partly because their schools do not offer the ‘right’ subjects, according to a government-commissioned review published last week, writes Jessica Shepherd for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

US: University of California seeks to save $500 million
The University of California plans to reduce its administrative, purchasing and energy costs by about US$500 million a year by 2015 in an attempt to shield its teaching and research missions from further cuts in state funding, officials said on Wednesday, writes Larry Gordon for the Los Angeles Times.
More on the University World News site

US: Stanford prepares for bookless libraries
One chapter is closing – and another is opening – as Stanford University moves toward the creation of its first ‘bookless library’, writes Lisa M Krieger for the Mercury News.
More on the University World News site
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