ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0066 14 November 2010
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HE Events Diary

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Some 50,000 students and lecturers took to the streets of London last week to protest against fee hikes and teaching budget cuts. Photo: Guardian
Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout responded to her 15-month abduction in Somalia, and subsequent release, by creating scholarships for young Somalian women to attend university. Photo: Amanda Lindhout
Adam Habib reflects on how university leaders in South Africa can pro-actively pursue a socially progressive agenda.

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 Features PHILIP FINE interviews Canadian Amanda Lindhout, who responded to her 15-month abduction in Somalia by creating scholarships for Somali women to attend university, and AHMED MOHAMOUD ELMI charts the rising number of Somalilanders studying abroad. MUNYARADZI MAKONI covers round-table higher education debates at Rhodes University in South Africa. Abroad, ALYA MISHRA reports on visits to India by universities from the US, Canada and Europe; YOJANA SHARMA looks at the imposition of the Chinese language in schools in Qinghai and its impact on access to higher education for Tibetans; STANISLAUS JUDE CHAN traces a shift in Singapore towards the liberal arts through a tie-up with Yale; and MICHAEL GALLAGHER of Australia’s Group of Eight universities discusses how countries have tackled quality assurance.

AFRICA: News from across the continent

AFRICA: Lessons from US foundation collaboration
Sharon Dell
A “highly unusual” 10-year higher education partnership between seven US foundations, each with its distinct brand of organisational culture, leadership style and mission, is guaranteed to generate interesting lessons and valuable advice for future collaborations. These have been collected in a newly-published case study which tracks the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, PHEA, which began in 2000 and whose members invested US$440 million in 65 universities across nine African countries.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Teachers oppose salary differentials
Tunde Fatunde
Strikes are sweeping across Nigerian universities in a dispute over salary differentials. Teaching in most of the state universities has been disrupted although federal universities continue to run lectures.
Full report on University World News website

EGYPT: Campus police protests divide academics
Ashraf Khaled
When a group of lecturers pushing for the independence of universities in Egypt went to Ain Shams University, the country’s second biggest public higher education institution, they did not expect to be chased by armed youths, spark campus protests and have a brush with the law. But that is what happened and the incident has divided the academic community.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: New university to help ease admissions crisis
Gilbert Nganga
A new institution called the East African University was granted an interim operating licence last week by Kenya’s Commission for Higher education. The Ugandan-owned private university offers opportunities for thousands more Kenyan school-leavers to access higher education and should help ease a serious admissions crisis.
Full report on University World News site

SENEGAL: Parliament debates higher education
Jane Marshall
Parliament has approved the budget for higher education, universities, regional university centres and scientific research – with the hope that prompt payment of students’ grants through speeding up the banking process will avoid a repetition of strikes and disruption.
Full report on the University World News site

EU-SOUTH AFRICA: Tap development funds for research
Keith Nuthall
A senior South African diplomat has called on the European Union to consider the economic development created in Africa by research investments, when weighing overseas funding priorities.
Full report on the University World News site


ZIMBABWE: Academic vacancies in health still high
Kudzai Mashininga
Zimbabwe’s brain drain crisis is still at “unacceptable levels” despite recent efforts to redress its crippling effects, new figures released by a parliamentary committee have shown. Universities remain hard-hit.
Full report on the University World News site

DR CONGO: Private institutions get state approval
Confusion in the private sector of higher education over obtaining state ratification of staff grades has ended following evaluation by the Ministry of Higher and University Education, reported Le Potentiel of Kinshasa.
Full report on the University World News site

MADAGASCAR: Lecturers’ union locks students out
Members of the university lecturers’ and researchers’ union Seces announced ‘unlimited’ strike action, locking all six universities, preventing students from taking examinations and withholding results of those who had already taken them, said press reports. The teachers are claiming overtime payments, research allowances and sufficient resources.
Full report on the University World News site


SOMALIA-CANADA: Forgiveness in scholarships
Philip Fine
Eleven young Somali women, who did not have the means to go to university and who all want to use their education to help their troubled country, are on track to undergraduate degrees and attending classes this semester thanks to the efforts of a Canadian woman who had been brutally held captive in their country.
Full report on the University World News site

SOMALILAND: Government plans to plug brain drain
Ahmed Mohamoud Elmi
Somaliland’s Higher Education Minister Zamzam Abdi Adan – the only female minister in the cabinet appointed recently – has suggested the need for a strategy to encourage students completing higher education studies abroad to return to home on graduation. The number of students attending foreign institutions is said to have soared in the past decade.
Full report on the University World News site

Aims of Higher Education round-table

Rhodes University’s Centre for Higher Education, Research, Teaching and Learning hosted a second round table discussion on the Aims of Higher Education from 27-29 October. The idea was to have intense, focused discussions between university academics and executives on higher education issues and the ways in which the sector is evolving in South Africa and the world. MUNYARADZI MAKONI reports.

SOUTH AFRICA: Academics, executives embrace dialogue
There is a dearth of critical voices on what direction higher education should take. More often than not academics and executives do not share views although they are fighting for the same purpose. When the two ‘sides’ met at Rhodes University in South Africa for a second round-table last month, the debate was wide-ranging – and included how to continue talking.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: A transformative higher education agenda
Munyaradzi Makoni
The focus of higher education in South Africa has been on policies and reforms and their impacts. What is sorely needed, says Adam Habib, Deputy Vice-chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, is engaged executives who critically reflect on their managerial experiences “leading to lessons that can advance a socially progressive higher education agenda”.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: The university, diversity and autonomy
Munyaradzi Makoni
What is a ‘real’ university? asked Gordon Graham, a professor of philosophy and the arts at Princeton Theological Seminary in the US, at a round-table discussion at Rhodes University in South Africa last month. He offered a critical comparison of three ‘ideal types’ that have played a significant role in the history of higher education across the world, and called for a relook at professional education as a way to resist current threats to university autonomy.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

UK: Violence overshadows student fees protests
Diane Spencer
For the first time in decades, a student protest ended in violence on Wednesday night with missiles hurled at police and windows smashed at Conservative Party headquarters in London’s Westminster. At least 50 people were arrested and 14 taken to hospital including seven policemen. The demonstration was called to protest against the coalition government’s plans to raise the cap on tuition fees by three-fold to £9,000 (US$12,350) and impose cuts of 40% on teaching budgets.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: US, Europe and Japan challenged in R&D
Geoff Maslen
While the US, Europe and Japan may still be leading the global research and development effort, they are increasingly being challenged by emerging countries, especially China. This is one of the findings of the UNESCO Science Report 2010, launched at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris on World Science Day, 10 November.
Full report on the University World News site

PAKISTAN: Strike over vice-chancellor’s abduction
Ameen Amjad Khan
Just weeks after Pakistan’s universities shut down in protest against cuts to higher education funding, institutions in the sensitive north-west region of the country have again been closed, this time to put pressure on the government for the safe recovery of a prominent vice-chancellor kidnapped by the Taliban.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Alarm over proposed quality agency
Geoff Maslen
Plans by the federal government to introduce legislation this month covering quality assurance and academic standards have raised fears that the nation’s universities will lose much of their autonomy and possibly some of their funding. A new Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency is to be created to replace the Australian Universities Quality Agency, which conducts audits of all institutions but lacks the authority to oblige them to adopt its recommendations.
Full report on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Tougher test for would-be migrants
Geoff Maslen
Foreign students hoping to remain in Australia as permanent residents face far stricter entry rules under changes announced on Thursday by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen. The government’s decision to further tighten migration eligibility requirements could have a serious impact on the already faltering recruitment of foreign students, especially those from China and India which are the two largest source countries for universities.
Full report on the University World News website

RUSSIA: Drive to lure foreign scientists begins
Eugene Vorotnikov
The Russian government has launched an 11 billion ruble (US$360 million) drive to attract foreign scientists to work in local universities to enhance the international competitiveness of the country’s domestic science and higher education. The scientists are being lured with research grants expected to range from three million rubles up to 150 million rubles.
Full report on the University World News site

IRAN: Dissolution of medical university sparks protest
Yojana Sharma
A decision by the health ministry to dissolve one of Iran’s largest and most prominent medical universities has sparked protests, including from legislators disputing the ministry’s right to close it.
Full report on the University World News site

INDONESIA: Universities disrupted by volcanic ash
David Jardine
When the world’s most active volcano Mount Merapi – the ‘mountain of fire’ – erupted recently, the ash cloud heavily inundated the neighbouring city of Yogjakarta, known in Indonesia for its large number of higher education institutions.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Chinese help spur modest graduate increase
Sarah King Head
The latest Council of Graduate Schools’ (CGS) International Graduate Admissions Survey shows the zero growth reported last year has been replaced by gains of 3% in current first-time enrolments to US graduate schools. But the big story is the sustained, double-digit growth in enrolment of first-time Chinese students to US graduate programmes.
Full report on the University World News site


INDIA: A global higher education magnet
Alya Mishra
In the same week as US President Barack Obama visited the country, universities from the US, Canada and Europe have been beating a path to India to collaborate with Indian higher educational institutions. Experts say this is not just about education but building strategic and economic partnerships in a globalised world.
Full report on the University World News site

TIBET: Language policy threatens tertiary access
Yojana Sharma
Student protests against the Qinghai provincial government’s new policy to impose the Chinese language in all schools in the predominantly Tibetan area spread quickly to Beijing’s Minzu University for minorities, and highlighted wider issues of Tibetans’ access to higher education and jobs.
Full report on the University World News site

SINGAPORE: A shift from science to humanities
Stanislaus Jude Chan
For decades Singapore invested heavily in mathematics and science education, driving it to the top in international school league tables and boosting science and technology research in universities. But now the government wants to increase liberal arts students, and is supporting a proposed tie-up with Yale University.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: The challenge of quality assurance
How the quality of a university education can be assured and standards of teaching and research maintained is an issue that governments and higher education institutions around the world continue to confront. In a paper discussing how different countries have tackled this topic, as Australia is at present, the Executive Director of the Australian Group of Eight universities, MICHAEL GALLAGHER, considers the responsibility of government and the university in assuring quality.
Full report on the University World News site


GERMANY: University opens with five students
Michael Gardner
A private university of applied sciences that has begun teaching activities with just five students is said to be running the most expensive higher education courses in Germany.
Full report on the University World News site


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GLOBAL: Unesco pulls plug on Philosophy Day in Iran
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation decided last week to pull the plug on another embarrassment to its reputation, dissociating itself from this year’s celebration of philosophy, to be held in Iran in less than two weeks, writes Steven Erlanger for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Higher education spending to rise 13% yearly
India’s expenditure on higher education will grow nearly 13% annually in the next 10 years driven by the private sector, said a report released by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Thursday, writes Prashant K Nanda for
More on the University World News site

UK: Reluctance to study abroad a ‘pressing issue’
A new study suggests that Britain’s economic future could be jeopardised unless more students embrace overseas experience, reports The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Biometric scans for foreign students
Foreign students will be included in a trial of biometric checks as part of a wider campaign to weed out potential terrorists, writes Guy Healy for The Australian.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: US exam botch frustrates Chinese students
Following the cancellation last month of thousands of Graduate Record Examination scores in China due to administrative problems, a growing number of Chinese students are speaking out about what they say is an insufficient and ineffective response by the US company that runs the exam, writes Mary Hennock for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

US: For-profit drops suit against community college
When Fort Lauderdale-based Keiser University took one of Florida’s community college’s to court last month for slander, the suit garnered national attention as evidence of just how nasty the debate over for-profit colleges had become, writes Michael Vasquez for The Miami Herald.
More on the University World News site

US: Money fuels environmentalist boom on campuses
Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, has pledged to be completely carbon-neutral by 2020. On the West Coast, the University of California-Santa Cruz saves an estimated $300,000 on water each year by eliminating trays in its dining halls. And the University of Georgia, which subsidises public transportation on campus, now has nearly 30 student organisations related to sustainability, writes Brian Wingfield for
More on the University World News site

MEXICO: Comparative study makes case for universities
It can be lonely at the top, especially when it comes to global university rankings. So in 2008, researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the sole Mexican university to break into the top 200 in international rankings, decided to see how their institution stacked up against its rivals in Mexico, writes Marion Lloyd for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: Free higher education must end – report
Free higher education in Scotland is under threat after a report published by Universities Scotland confirmed that tuition fees must be reviewed, writes Kathryn Richardson for The Journal.
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ISRAEL: Minister halts Tel Aviv University funding
Israeli Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz last week ordered Accountant General Shuki Oren to immediately stop budget transfers to Tel Aviv University because of “salary irregularities”, reports Globes.
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INDIA: Mumbai academics want Mistry book back
The University of Mumbai’s Academic Staff Association wants Rohinton Mistry’s book, Such a Long Journey, to be reintroduced, writes Mihika Basu for the Daily News & Analysis.
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