ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0055 06 June 2010
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NL-Linda Katehi
American research universities are under threat, says Linda Katehi, Chancellor of the University of California, Davies. See the News section.
NL-Bombay University
There are 15 million students in India and the number is rapidly rising, writes Pawan Agarwal in the Features section. India now needs a California-style master plan for higher education. Credit: iStock
NL-Academic Matters
Universities are failing to teach critical thinking, undermining their democratic mission, writes Joel Westheimer in the journal Academic Matters. See the HE Research and Commentary 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

MALAWI: China to fund new science university
Clemence Manyukwe
The Chinese government will fund the construction of a new science university in Malawi as part of the country’s ambitious initiative to open five new institutions of higher learning in the next decade, President Bingu wa Mutharika has said. China is funding major development projects in Africa, in a diplomatic initiative aimed at building good relations on the continent and averting criticism that it is only after Africa’s rich natural resources.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA-AFRICA: New project links universities to industry
Philip Fine
Canada is partnering its universities with members of the Association of African Universities in a programme that aims to forge links between higher education and the private sector. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has launched an initiative that will create 27 new university-industry partnerships, with Canadian and African researchers conducting projects aimed at integrating the chosen African university into a local or regional industry.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Aid disbursement fails many students
Munyaradzi Makoni
Eligible but financially needy students continue to be excluded from South Africa’s higher education institutions. More than 16,000 students failed to access government funds last year alone – a 45% increase over the previous year – according to government figures.
Full report in the University World News Features section

KENYA: Funding crunch deepens admissions crisis
Gilbert Nganga
The biting admissions crisis in Kenyan universities could soon worsen, should a proposal to barely increase state funding for public universities from July be accepted. The Ministry of Finance said in estimates for the 2010-11 financial year it could only raise university subsidies by 4% yet student enrolment has leapt by 40%.
Full reports on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: New higher education reforms
From a special correspondent
Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has drafted a programme to reform higher education and re-engage with the international community in a move likely to benefit universities after a decade of isolation. But rising anger against exorbitant fees saw students last week assault a polytechnic principal.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: University for the police sparks controversy
Tunde Fatunde
The Nigerian government has approved the establishment of a university for police. The aim is to improve the working tools, skills and operation of the police, along the lines of a similar academy that serves the armed forces. The move has generated controversy, although there is consensus on the need to equip the police to deal with the demands of an age in which crimes are committed using modern technologies.
Full report on University World News site

TUNISIA: Universities to act against high-tech cheating
Wagdy Sawahel
Tunisia’s Ministry of Education plans to counter student cheating with measures including cell-phone jamming and campaigns that warn of dishonesty’s consequences. The battle will begin by preventing wireless cheating during baccalaureate examinations, which are the passport to higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Fish college to cut reliance on red meat
Ashraf Khaled
A recent hike in prices of beef products in Egypt has angered many in this country of 80 million people, 40% of whom are believed to live below the poverty line. Pro-consumer groups are pushing for a boycott of beef, traditionally a key dish on the menu. The creators of a new college, majoring in fish sciences, have promised a drastic change in food patterns.
Full report on University World News site

EGYPT-FRANCE: Boost to higher education cooperation
Wagdy Sawahel
Egypt and France have agreed to boost collaboration between higher education institutions in the fields of science and technology. An agreement was signed by Egyptian Higher Education Minister Hani Helal and his French counterpart, Valérie Pécresse, at the 25th Africa-France summit held in the south-eastern French city of Nice from 31 May to 1 June.
Full report on University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Call for research grant applications
Munyaradzi Makoni
A developmental initiative that includes universities in South Africa, India and Brazil and seeks to promote South-South cooperation, is calling for applications from South African researchers. Designed to support development of cooperation activities in science, technology and innovation, it aims to sustainably contribute to technological development.
Full report on University World News site

CÔTE D’IVOIRE: Human rights institute to open
Jane Marshall
The Université Atlantique in Abidjan is opening an institute of human rights in September and last month held a conference to prepare its operations.
Full report on the University World News site


SOUTH AFRICA: Incentive system bad for scholarship
Catriona Macleod*
Research has become, over the last decade or so, a commodity in South Africa. Of course, this has always partially been the case with applied research. Studies have always been commissioned or funded by industries and government departments, with the aim of improving upon the products or services provided, innovating new ways of doing things and increasing efficiency and effectiveness.
Full report on the University World News site


EGYPT-JAPAN: Joint science and technology university
Senior Egyptian and Japanese officials attended the inauguration of the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, known as E-JUST, in Cairo last Wednesday. The two groups involved in establishing the university hope it will become a leading teaching and research centre “at the crossroads of Africa and the Middle East”.
Full report on the University World News site

BURKINA FASO-FRANCE: Rising urban obesity alert
Jane Marshall
The number of town-dwellers in developing countries is expected to double between 2000 and 2025. With rapid urbanisation comes a change of eating habits – and not for the better, as more meat, fat, salt and sugar enter the diet and snacks replace meals. In many African countries, where paradoxically malnutrition remains a major preoccupation, obesity is taking over in the towns and increasing the risk of chronic disease, according to findings of a joint Burkinabé-French research project.
Full report on the University World News site

SENEGAL: Academic urges African research upgrade
African countries must upgrade their research activities if they are to succeed in their development efforts, said Professor Libase Diop of the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar recently.
Full report on the University World News site

DR CONGO: Accord to boost women’s higher studies
The United Nations Development Programme last month signed an agreement with Congolese universities to promote the higher education of women, as part of a wider action plan, reported Le Potentiel of Kinshasa.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

US: Research universities at risk, warns chancellor
US research universities are under threat from the recession and social changes, Linda Katehi, Chancellor of the University of California, Davis, told scientists at a recent American Association for the Advancement of Science policy forum. Katchi said the two factors were combining to undermine universities.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Reducing student loan burden
Alya Mishra
Education Minister Kapil Sibal has unveiled measures to reduce the burden of education loans on poorer families. They are among policies to increase the proportion of young people in higher education and improve access for lower income families.
* See also our Features section this week for commentaries on India’s expanding higher education system
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: More funds pledged at Bologna conference
Michael Gardner
Education Minister Annette Schavan has pledged extra funding of €2 billion (US$2.5 billion) for teaching in higher education. She announced the measure at a Bologna conference attended by professors, students and politicians in Berlin last month. Representatives of industry and trade unions were also present.
Full report on the University World News site

NEW ZEALAND: Universities raise entry requirements
John Gerritsen
Some of New Zealand’s eight universities are raising their entry requirements to try to control student numbers. The institutions have found themselves in a difficult position since the recession struck because it has prompted more people to seek a university education. But the government has made no change to its strict limits on enrolments.
Full report on the University World News site

EURO-MED: Plan for higher education and research
Wagdy Sawahel
The 43 member states of the Union for the Mediterranean are planning a ‘roadmap’ to enhance cooperation in higher education and scientific research, and promote the creation of knowledge-based societies in Euro-Mediterranean countries.
Full report on the University World News site

NORWAY: Need to retain young researchers
Jan Petter Myklebust
Early stage researchers in Norway enjoy the highest starting salaries of all those in 34 countries. But a challenge facing the nation is how to retain researchers from abroad who are trained in Norway, said a special adviser to the Norwegian Research Council, Hans M Borchgrevink.
Full report on the University World News site

NORWAY: International Polar Year conference
Jan Petter Myklebust
The largest conference to be held with polar and climate researchers will focus this week on the rapid climate changes in the Arctic and the global effects of these changes. Crown Prince Haakon of Norway will open the International Polar Year Oslo Scientific Conference on Tuesday where more than 2,000 participants from 70 countries will sum up experiences of the fourth International Polar Year 2007-09.
Full report on the University World News site


INDIA: Frantic expansion – and its consequences
Pawan Agarwal*
Higher education enrolments in India reached 15 million this year. This is just four million short of US enrolments but corresponds to a gross enrolment ratio of only 14% compared with 82% in the US. Growth in enrolments has accelerated over the past five years and, during the same period, 200 new universities and 8,000 new colleges were set up to total 525 universities and 25,951 colleges. But a worrying trend is the large numbers of private management institutes and even more private engineering colleges that constitute the bulk of the increase.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Staking home for an education
Alya Mishra
When Abhishek Kundu approached the State Bank of India for an education loan to study for an MBA, the bank flatly refused. He was not alone in having a tough time trying to finance a degree; many families are forced to put up their homes and investments as collateral.
Full report on the University World News site

NORWAY: Wittgenstein archives available on line
Alois Pichler and Jan Petter Myklebust
The Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen has made 5,000 pages of Wittgenstein’s writings available for open access on the website Wittgenstein Source. This is part of a process lasting more than 40 man-years and using new digitalisation technology, making the collected papers of the late philosopher available for a growing audience of researchers worldwide.
Full report on the University World News site


CANADA: Higher education or education for hire?
Teaching critical thinking is the university’s democratic mission, and today’s universities are failing to deliver, argues the University of Ottawa’s Joel Westheimer in an article in the latest edition of the Canadian journal Academic Matters. Universities need to reverse the trend that has them focusing on workforce preparation and the commerc ialisation of knowledge and resurrect higher education’s public purpose.
Full article on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Low-cost HIV treatment with zinc supplements
Wagdy Sawahel
Researchers have demonstrated that long-term zinc supplementation for HIV patients reduced the likelihood of immunological failure and reduced the rate of diarrhoea. The findings were published online in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Science imitates nature’s bright colours
Scientists have found a way to create tiny structures that reflect light in such a way they produce bright colours. They copied structures found on insects, such as butterflies and beetles, and say their discovery could eventually be used by the printing industry.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

UK: Universities force student dating site to close
A student dating website that received four million hits in its first month has been taken down after pressure from universities, reports The Times. The FitFinder, the brainchild of 21-year-old University College London student Rich Martell, combined Twitter and a classified ads column, allowing students to swap messages of admiration in libraries and social spaces.
More on the University World News site

US: Students losing their sensitive side
Are college students as nice as they used to be? Apparently not, and modern technology may be partly to blame, reports The Washington Post. A new University of Michigan study has found that since 2000, college students in the US have become less empathetic.
More on the University World News site


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GLOBAL: The rise of the ‘multiversity’
Some scholars date the beginnings of globalisation from the first move of people out of Africa, writes Simon Marginson for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Some date it from the spread of world religions – Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Others date it from the imperial European empires, the Napoleonic wars or the expanded trade and migration in the second half of the Victorian era.
More on the University World News site

US: Nations woo American students at NAFSA expo
The Expo Hall at the 62nd annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference evokes Disney’s Epcot Center, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed. Foreign countries have staked out territory here in Kansas City, in America’s heartland, to promote themselves as destinations for international students. The international student market is booming.
More on the University World News site

US: Still the best among world’s top universities?
Ross Forman is one of American higher education’s best and brightest. He may also be a canary in its coal mine, writes Lee Lawrence for The Christian Science Monitor. Three years ago, he was looking for a lecturing job. He had stellar credentials from Harvard and Stanford, he’d published in academic journals, co-edited an anthology and organised conferences. He sent out applications mainly in the US, but it was two sent farther afield that yielded results: “I got both jobs in Asia: one in Hong Kong and one in Singapore.
More on the University World News site

DUBAI: Higher education hits a low mark
When Dubai’s economy stumbled in December 2009, it heralded a tough time not only for businesses, but the business of higher education too, reports Arabic Knowledge @ Wharton. The most public example of the difficulties operating in the sector was the experience of George Mason University, a American higher education pioneer in the United Arab Emirates.
More on the University World News site

IRELAND: Universities told courses and jobs at risk
University presidents in Ireland are being told to brace themselves for unprecedented cuts which could force them to cut staff and cancel courses, writes Sean Flynn for The Irish Times. In a confidential letter to the seven presidents, the chief executive of the Higher Education Authority, Tom Boland, said he was alerting all colleges to take “whatever action is needed” to prepare for the next academic year.
More on the University World News site

UK: Lecturers union warns of national strike
UK lecturers have warned they may strike over at least 14,000 job losses at universities across the country, write Rachel Williams and Jessica Shepherd for The Guardian. Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, said if discussions about redundancies broke down between academics and their employers, there could be a national strike. She did not predict when this could be.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Students and the strangulating state
Indian students waited eagerly last week for the results of entrance exams to the most sought-after engineering schools, among them the famed Indian Institutes of Technology. More than 450,000 students competed for some 9,500 seats in what is perhaps the most competitive exam in the world, writes Barun S Mitra, director of the independent think tank the Liberty Institute, for The Wall Street Journal.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: New norms for university teacher promotion
The Indian government has approved new regulations for university and college teachers under which promotion of faculty is linked to their research output, reports ZeeNews. The Human Resource Development Ministry has approved the University Grants Commission Regulations for Minimum Qualification for Appointment of Teachers and Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: Universities pledge to indigenous peoples
With a ceremonial prayer to Mother Earth and a joyous stomp dance for good measure, Canada’s aboriginal leaders on Tuesday hailed a new accord on indigenous education, writes Peggy Curran for the Montreal Gazette. The pact, developed by deans of education across the country, was signed by aboriginal leaders during a ceremony at the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences, held at Montreal’s Concordia University.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: First Nations University thrown a lifeline
The government has thrown the struggling First Nations University of Canada a $4 million (US$3.8 million) financial lifeline that students hope will keep their beloved institution afloat, writes Jennifer Graham for The Canadian Press.
More on the University World News site

SLOVAKIA: Government sets R&D target
The Slovak government has set itself the goal of investing 1.8% of gross domestic product in research and development by 2015. This target, smaller than the 3% by 2020 target for the EU as a whole, is still to be negotiated, reports EurActiv Slovakia.
More on the University World News site

US: Three-year degrees? Not so fast
As hot higher education ideas go, the three-year bachelor’s degree continues to get a lot of attention and praise, writes Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed. Most recently, an op-ed in The New York Times made the case for three years of undergraduate study.
More on the University World News site

GHANA: Government wants more private universities
Alex Tettey-Enyo, Ghana’s Minister of Education, has said the government will encourage the establishment of more accredited private tertiary institutions to increase student enrolment in the West African country, reports GhanaWeb.
More on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Higher Education Commission budget slashed
After a massive budget cut, Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission is looking for alternative income sources to run its projects, reports The News.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Students lack political education – official
China’s propaganda chief has said the teaching of communist ideology at universities is lacking, ahead of the anniversary of the 1989 crushing of the Tiananmen democracy protests, state media said on Monday, reports AFP.
More on the University World News site
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