ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0063 03 October 2010
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6th Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning

Online Educa Berlin

Ford Foundation


HE Events Diary

Higher Education Marketing

Peter Wells of Unesco-CEPES compares the Bologna process to Lady Gaga. See our News section. Photo by: Daniel Ahs Karlsson
The new Oxford University Press Chinese Dictionary is finally complete. See our Features section.
Radical cuts to Pakistan's higher education budget have been blamed on diversion of funds to flood relief efforts. In Features, this reason is questioned. Credit: DFID

University World News was a media partner to the OECD's Institutional Management in Higher Education conference in Paris in September 2010, and to the Unesco World Conference on Higher Education in 2009.


This week's highlights

In Africa Analysis, ROSA BECKER looks at growing higher education relationships between China and Africa, and what the benefits to each might be, and JOHN D HOLM critiques a new White Paper on Europe-Africa higher education collaboration. University World News reports on the annual HERS-SA academy held in Cape Town, aimed at advancing women in higher education leadership across Africa. In Features, AMEEN AMJAD KHAN argues that drastic cuts to higher education funding in Pakistan is motivated by politics rather than diversion of money to flood relief, LILY PHILIPOSE writes about the growing provision of 'soft skills' in universities in Germany, DINAH GARDNER reports on Oxford University Press' huge new Chinese Dictionary, and JOHN RICHARD SCHROCK reveals a US trend towards universities not accepting online coursework in certain fields.

AFRICA: News from across the continent

EU-AFRICA: University ties to be deepened
David Haworth
New plans for broadening the two-way street between African and European universities were unveiled at a conference in Brussels last week, where 150 delegates from both continents debated closer ties in higher education. The conference focused on a newly published White Paper on bridging arrangements between institutions and greater cooperation between scholars in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: UN to map universities’ HIV care and support
Brendan O’Malley
UN experts are calling on universities to help them map the impact of HIV-Aids on higher education institutions and how this is being addressed. UNAIDS is looking for universities willing to take part in a review of how higher education institutions worldwide operate as centres for HIV treatment, care and support, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, where countries with hyper-epidemics are found.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Mugabe bows to pressure over degree
Kudzai Mashininga
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe last week cancelled a trip to Ecuador to receive an honorary university degree in civil law after opposition to the honour mounted at home and abroad.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Review of university courses, stress on S&T
Gilbert Nganga
In a bid to link higher education funding to society’s long-term economic goals, Kenya plans to review courses offered by the country’s public universities, putting emphasis on science and technology – a shift that could see dozens of popular courses scrapped. And Higher Education Minister William Ruto said only science and technology students at public universities would in future be assured of government funding.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: State to launch e-learning university
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya plans to launch a multi-million dollar e-learning university next year, potentially increasing higher education access and easing an admissions crisis plaguing public universities. The National Open University of Kenya will enable students to pursue their degree dreams through online learning, a trend already practiced on a small scale by private universities.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: Private universities in doldrums over ‘gap year’
Ashraf Khaled
To Egypt’s over-stretched public universities it is a godsend but to private universities the results of the ‘gap year’, in which far fewer secondary school leavers are attending universities, is a major problem.
Full report on the University World News site

BOTSWANA: Strike stalls country’s premier university
Special Correspondent
A week-long strike over salaries at the University of Botswana has effectively ended, with staff returning to work on 21 September and a number of strategies planned to address the situation. Unresolved issues between university staff and management have been outstanding for most of 2010.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Supply of key skills difficult to regulate
Special Correspondent
Zimbabwe is set to cut back on nursing students’ funding and intakes at institutions of higher learning, after all vacancies were filled, a senior official said in a statement. In a related move the state is considering loosening its strict controls over bonded students in its cadetship programme.
Full report on the University World News site


CHINA-AFRICA: A partnership with equal benefits?
Rosa Becker*
At the end of August, government leaders from China and South Africa announced that they would advance bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas, including higher education and scientific research. The partnership follows a series of collaborations that have been set up following the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2000 and the formulation of the Chinese government’s ‘Africa Policy’.
Full report on University World News website

EUROPE-AFRICA: White Paper noble but flawed
John D Holm*
Erasmus Mundus has financed a new White Paper, disseminated last week in Brussels, which envisages European universities joining a strategic partnership with African universities to enable the latter to acquire the capacity to take leadership in developing their countries. The partnership is to be funded by the EU and its member states. The title of the White Paper is Africa-Europe Higher Education Cooperation for Development: Meeting regional and global challenges.
Full report on the University World News site

HERS-SA: Advancing women in higher education

AFRICA: Women and mountains in higher education
Debbie Derry
The mountain came to us, literally and figuratively. The who’s who of South African higher education came to Cape Town to share, enlighten and challenge 87 women from 14 African countries and America on various aspects of this expansive subject. I have a photograph to prove it – a group shot of delegates attending the annual HERS-SA Academy for women in leadership in higher education, against the backdrop of Table Mountain.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: Women academic numbers need to grow
Munyaradzi Makoni
African universities have few female students opting for ‘hard sciences’. And despite the availability of funds, attracting female science lecturers is even more challenging. These were among concerns discussed recently in Cape Town by senior women from universities in Botswana, Mauritius and Tanzania attending the HERS-SA academy. The consensus was that the problem boils down to a shortage of role models.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Advancing women in higher education
Alison Moodie
Although strides have been made, women academics are still losing out to male colleagues at South African universities, especially at the senior level. Pervasive patriarchal attitudes, the lingering effects of apartheid and a woman’s childbearing responsibilities are the major challenges faced by female educators as they climb the career ladder, and statistics show their situation hasn’t improved much this past decade.
Full report on the University World News site


ZAMBIA: Online student registration and payment
Talent Ng’andwe
In a bid to catch up with technology, address a host of registration-related challenges and offer students improved service, Zambia’s first state university, the University of Zambia or UNZA, has introduced online student registration and payment.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

CHINA: Ambitious ‘innovation society’ plan
Yojana Sharma
China hopes to raise the quality and quantity of its graduates in its most ambitious programme ever to grow top talent, raising the gross enrolment rate for universities from around 24% to 40% within 10 years and the number of citizens with college-level education in the work force from 9% to 20% overall.
Full story on University World News site

GLOBAL: Risk of shortage of nuclear engineers
Jan Petter Myklebust
The world is facing a shortage of nuclear spec ialists because of a lack of training programmes and students to replace those about to retire, according to Nobel Peace Prize holder and former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr Mohamed ElBaradei.
Full report on the University World News site

IRAN: Key philosophers pull out of Unesco event
Yojana Sharma
A decision by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Unesco, to hold its annual Congress for World Philosophy Day in Tehran, has raised hackles. A growing number of internationally renowned academics have said they will boycott the event, citing ongoing repression of humanities professors in Iran.
Full report on the University World News site

KYRGYZSTAN: Universities to stay closed during poll
Yojana Sharma
All higher education institutions in southern Kyrgyzstan, scene of ethnic violence earlier this year, will remain closed during upcoming elections, delaying the start of the academic year until after the poll.
Full report on the University World News site

ITALY: Academics’ pension age under scrutiny
Lee Adendorff
The pension age for Italy’s ageing professorial body could be lowered to 65 years under reforms currently being discussed in the Italian parliament, in an attempt to address what Education Minister Mariastella Gelmini has described as an urgent need for ‘generational turnover’.
Full report on the University World news site

EUROPE: Education reform as hot as Lady Gaga?
Jana Bacevic
“The Bologna process is like Lady Gaga – people tend to love it or hate it, but they cannot ignore it,” said Peter Wells of Unesco-CEPES at the International Forum on Higher Education Reform “Foresight 2020”, which took place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 26 to 29 September.
Full report on the University World News site

SCANDINAVIA: Soaring student numbers squeeze housing
Jan Petter Myklebust
Scandinavian universities are reporting severe housing problems due to a steep increase in student numbers, and some institutions and parents are turning to innovative solutions.
Full report on the University World News site

SAUDI ARABIA: First foreign-accredited degrees plan
Wagdy Sawahel
Saudi Arabia has opened its doors to foreign campuses by planning to set up the first postgraduate research institute offering foreign-accredited degrees. The institute will also become only the second mixed-gender university after King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: OU offers record number of places
Makki Marseilles
More than a decade after it was established, the Greek Open University will next year make available a record 8,260 places on undergraduate and postgraduate courses to people who for a variety of reason were not able to complete their studies.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Increase in student support unlikely
Michael Gardner
An increase in federal grants for post-secondary students has been further postponed, with no agreement reached during a recent working group appointed by the mediation committee of the Bundesrat and Bundestag, the German upper and lower houses of parliament – leaving government grants for the coming winter at their current level.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: ICT research gets EUR780 million boost
MJ Deschamps
European academic institutions have a new opportunity to gain funding under a recent €780 million (US$1 billion) research pot announced for strategic information and communications technology research under the EU’s seventh framework programme.
Full report on the University World News site


PAKISTAN: Politics, not floods, divert university funds
Ameen Amjad Khan
When Pakistan’s government announced swingeing cuts in the higher education budget, ostensibly to redirect the money towards flood relief, major protests erupted around the country. However, critics say the cuts were really made for political reasons, including lower priority for higher education by the current government.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Hard facts about soft skills in universities
Lily Philipose*
When 29 ministers of European education met on 19 June 1999 to draft the Bologna Declaration and make a blueprint for the European Higher Education Area, they set out six objectives. These were: easily comparable degrees, undergraduate and graduate cycles, a common credit system, student mobility, quality assurance’ and a ‘European dimension in higher education’.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: World’s largest English-Chinese dictionary
Dinah Gardner
After five years of work undertaken by 60 editors, the new Oxford University Press Chinese Dictionary is finally complete. The publication includes 370,000 translations, more than 2,000 pages and is the size of a small dog. OUP says it is “the world’s largest, most up-to-date, most accurate, and most authoritative single-volume Chinese-English and English-Chinese dictionary.” It is a veritable monster.
Full report on University World News website

US: Marks from online courses being rejected
John Richard Schrock
“No, we do not accept online coursework,” is appearing on more US websites and in college catalogues. Some schools of pharmacy, medicine and nursing are among the first excluding transfer credit for online laboratory courses.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Network links fats and heart disease
A gene network causing hardening of the arteries and coronary heart disease has been identified by a team of scientists from Australia, Europe and the United Kingdom. The findings expose potential targets for the treatment of heart disease.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Ozone layer stabilised but hole continues
The United Nations declared 16 September as the International Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer to commemorate 16 September 1987, the date when the Montreal Protocol was signed. The protocol controls the production and use of ozone-depleting substances. It is an outstanding example of successful cooperation between scientists, governments, non-government organisations and industry as well as between developed and developing countries.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Genome inversion gives plant new lifestyle
The yellow monkeyflower, an unassuming plant that lives as a perennial on the foggy coasts of the US Pacific Northwest and a dry-land annual hundreds of kilometres inland, harbours a significant clue about evolution.
Full report on the University World News site


CANADA: Toronto recalls misspelled diplomas
Cayley Dobie
University diplomas represent many long nights of essay writing, preparation for mid-terms and the frantic study binge the night before the final exam. Students work hard to cross the floor at graduation and proudly accept their diploma. So, imagine that the big moment finally arrives and there is a typo on your diploma.
Full report on the University World News site

UAE: University first to offer degree in ‘mothering’
A new university in Ajman promises to make better mothers out of women by educating them about topics including rights to pedicures, writes Wafa Issa for The National. The University College for Mothering and Family Science, according to its founders, is the first university in the world to offer a bachelor degree in the ‘mothering profession’.
More on the University World News site


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SOUTH AFRICA: More universities check Israel links
Major South African universities began looking into their own ties with Israeli universities after the University of Johannesburg’s decision on Wednesday to terminate its links with Ben-Gurion University unless it fulfils, within six months, two conditions UJ has specified, writes David MacFarlane for the Mail & Guardian. The conditions are that Palestinian universities be included in the partnership and that activities with Ben-Gurion should not have military implications.
Full report on the University World News site

ITALY: Nepotism drags down universities: Study
The decline of Italy’s universities, none of which currently appear in the world’s top 200, is a constant source of lament among the country’s chattering classes, writes Michael Day for The Independent. But the reason for this sorry state is laid bare by new research that shows the extent of nepotism in higher education. The grip of family fiefdoms is being blamed for a nationwide brain drain.
Full report on the University World News site

ASIA-PACIFIC: Banking on Islamic finance courses
Countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, along with Hong Kong, have set their sights on becoming hubs for Islamic finance, where investments are made according to Islamic principles, writes Liz Gooch for The New York Times.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Plan unveiled to raise foreign student numbers
Sixty years ago there were just 20 foreign students studying in China. By 2020, there should be 500,000. That’s what will happen if a plan released last week by the Chinese Ministry of Education does what it sets out to do, reports The Independent.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Duke University plans for Indian campus
US-based Duke University, ranked 14th in the QS World University Rankings, is planning to set up a campus in India, writes Kirtika Suneja for Sify Finance. According to sources, Duke is looking for land for a campus in Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh or Pune.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Educational links with India forge ahead
Australia and India have defied media hysteria over attacks on overseas students and a soured relationship to establish a two-way higher education model, writes Guy Healy for The Australian.
Full report on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Entrepreneur graduates hit ground running
For most graduating students, finding a job would be a top priority. But not for 145 students from the Ciputra University in Surabaya, East Java, writes Sujadi Siswo for Channel News Asia. That’s because almost all of them have business start-ups. They have created more than 900 jobs in Indonesia.
Full report on the University World News site

JAPAN: New graduate schools struggle to find students
The number of universities and academic programmes in Japan is rising, particularly among professional graduate schools. But there is one obvious problem: not enough students are signing up, writes Miki Tanikawa for The New York Times.
Full report on the University World News site

KOREA: University tuition fees to be capped
From the coming spring semester, a tuition cap system will take effect to restrict universities from inflating fees above an approved rate. And students and parents will have a say in reviewing the tuition amount, reports the Korea Herald.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: English degrees may become world’s most expensive
An analysis of international data reveals that a small rise in fees would push England to the top of a league table of the most costly places to study – overtaking nations including Iceland and the United States, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
Full report on the University World News site

WALES: Universities expect more foreign students
Despite a freeze on UK undergraduates, up to 20% more international students are set to enrol in universities in Wales this autumn, reports the BBC.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Weakest universities may be allowed to go bankrupt
Ministers are drawing up proposals that would make universities more competitive and could lead to the weakest colleges disappearing, writes Robert Winnett for The Daily Telegraph.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Proposed science cuts may prompt brain drain
Britain is facing a major brain drain as scientists abandon the country for better-funded jobs abroad, an investigation by Jeevan Vasagar for The Guardian reveals. Top researchers including an Oxford professor of physics and a stem cell researcher seeking a cure for the commonest form of blindness, say they are poised to leave.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Students decide early about higher education
Canada has earned praise for levelling the financial playing field for lower-income students. The problem is that many of them are not being targeted early enough, writes Caroline Alphonso for The Globe and Mail.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Doctoral rankings ‘honest if a little imprecise’
The advance briefing for reporters covering last week’s release of the National Research Council’s ratings of doctoral programmes may have made history as the first time a group doing rankings held a news conference at which it seemed to be largely trying to write them off, reports Scott Jaschik for Inside Higher Ed.
Full report on the University World News site

AFRICA: ‘Spreading aid helps more universities’
Two professors who ‘audited’ a 10-year partnership between the South African Education Department, several Southern African universities and the Norwegian government said development funds could do more for Southern African universities if money was given to several collaborating universities instead of just one, and if the universities receiving the funds were reasonably strong, writes Sue Blaine for Business Day.
Full report on the University World News site
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