ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 073 13 March 2011
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HE Events Diary

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The US faces a massive shortfall of workers educated to support future economic growth, claims Dr Tracey Wilen-Daugenti in an article in the Commentary section.

Dr Kay Cheng Soh discusses student assessments and why GPA is falling short of the mark. See the Commentary section.

Guns should be banned from the classroom, argues John Woods in an article in the Commentary section, following his experiences in the Virginia Tech shooting.

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


This week’s highlights

As part of a series of articles on the HERANA research into higher education in eight African countries, we report on the lack of a ‘pact’ between stakeholders on the role of universities in development. GEOFF MASLEN reports on the fourth annual Australian Higher Education Congress held in Sydney last week. In Commentary, JOHN WOODS argues that if Texas allows guns on campuses, other states will follow and US universities will suffer loss of the free and honest debate that is critical to developing critical thinking skills. BRUCE MACFARLANE writes that the London School of Economics’ funding links with Libya is not an isolated case and is a symptom of universities having many different stakeholders, and KAY CHENG SOH suggests changing the long-used grade point average system, which is causing problems for many students applying to universities abroad.



AFRICA: News from across the continent

EGYPT: Protesting students want administrators out
Ashraf Khaled
Just a few days after they returned to class for the second semester, students at Egypt’s public universities staged massive protests against the administrators of their institutions, demanding that they be sacked for being part of the regime led by ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
Full report on the University World News site

LIBYA: Students abroad may become refugees
Geoff Maslen
Thousands of Libyan students are studying in other countries and many may decide to seek asylum should the Gaddafi regime maintain control of the strife-torn nation.
Full report on the University World News site

CHAD: Students boycott, demand leader’s removal
Tunde Fatunde
The University of Ndjamena has reopened and students are back in class after intervention by the country’s president to end weeks of class boycotts over poor learning conditions and tardiness in disbursing student funding payouts. The campus was closed when conflict came to a head over unsympathetic remarks from the vice-chancellor, whom students said should be removed. A top journalist was arrested for supporting the students in an open letter.
Full report on the University World News site

NORTH AFRICA: Social anger prompts universities reform
Wagdy Sawahel
Following the uprisings that toppled autocratic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and led to conflict in Libya, two North Africa countries – Algeria and Morocco – are attempting to deal with protestor demands by launching plans to invest in innovation and higher education as well as graduate employment programmes.
Full report on the University World News site

ALGERIA: Students protest policies and insecurity
Jane Marshall
Student protests have erupted at several Algerian universities, according to local press reports. At Tizi Ouzou, hundreds demonstrated against higher education policies and corruption. At Boumerdès students called an unlimited strike against the Bologna higher education structure. And students of the University of Algiers 2, at Bouzaréah, went on strike against campus insecurity, following an attack on a woman student.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Higher education reforms on the cards
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya has hatched a series of new strategies to reform its higher education sector, which call for new university campuses to be created in rural areas and funding to be upped to enable more students to be enrolled in the coming years.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Academics, students divided over sanctions
Kudzai Mashininga
Zimbabwean lecturers and students are divided over the rolling-out of a national petition campaign aimed at gathering more than two million signatures to pressure Western countries to lift targeted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle.
Full report on the University World News site

GAMBIA: New medical university for West Africa
Munyaradzi Makoni
Gambia’s first private university opened last month. The American International University West Africa spec ialises in the health sciences and will use curriculum and teaching methodology based on the American system, to help students meet the licensing requirements of any country.
Full report on the University World News site

NAMIBIA: Law academics evaluate pending legislation
Utaara Hoveka
Academics from the University of Namibia’s law faculty have been given the chance to make direct input into legislation going through the national assembly, and have developed a certificate training programme for MPs in constitutionalism and parliamentary practice.
Full report on the University World News site



HERANA: Universities and development in Africa

AFRICA: Lack of agreement over role of universities
There is a surprising lack of clarity and agreement in Africa about a development model and the role of higher education in development, at both the national and university levels, research into eight countries has revealed. Only in Mauritius is there evidence of a ‘pact’ between stakeholders over higher education’s role, says a recently published report.
Full report on the University World News site


EAST AFRICA: Mathematics partnership pays off
After nearly a decade, a mathematics partnership between universities in East Africa has vastly improved teaching of the subject and increased the number of credible mathematicians in the five participating countries.
Full report on the University World News site

MAURITIUS: New universities to be created
The government has approved construction of four new universitiy campuses and will soon give approval to the creation of a veterinary school, according to L’Express of Port Louis.
Full report on the University World News site

DR CONGO: Renovation of ‘martyred’ Unikis
The government has approved funding of US$3 million to repair and modernise six student residences at Unikis, the University of Kisingani, reported Le Potentiel of Kinshasa.
Full report on the University World News site



HONG KONG: The Going Global conference

CHINA: Ambitious plans to attract foreign students
Yojana Sharma
China’s ambitious plans to turn itself into an innovation economy include a big increase in the number of foreign students, turning the country into an education ‘hub’, a top Chinese education ministry official told an international conference in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, new official figures revealed that there are now 31 million higher education students in China – a 35% increase in five years.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: LSE debacle exposes lack of ethical guidelines
Yojana Sharma
The resignation earlier this month of Howard Davies, Director of the London School of Economics, over the institution’s acceptance of donations from Libya has exposed inadequate guidelines for universities on ethical fundraising from foreign regimes.
Full report on the University World News site
See also the article by Bruce Macfarlane in Commentary

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

INDIA: Budget hikes spending on higher education
Alya Mishra
Aiming to provide greater tertiary opportunities for its young population, India has increased its higher education budget by 34% to US$2.9 billion for 2011-12. But most of the allocation is for projects already in the pipeline rather than for ambitious plans to expand the number of higher education institutions in the coming years.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Six dominate reputation rankings
Brendan O’Malley
Six American and United Kingdom universities are in a super league of their own when it comes to reputation, according to an invitation-only survey of more than 13,000 academics in 131 countries.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Unrest fears prompt alert at universities
Yojana Sharma
Universities in China have come under government surveillance in the wake of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, as nervous authorities fear the ‘contagion’ could spread to China.
Full report on the University World News site

BELARUS: Fears for student rights campaigners
Brendan O’Malley
The European Humanities University has voiced concern over the plight of two of its students in Belarus. One has been sentenced to four years in prison. Another, who could face a sentence of up to 15 years, last week received the 2011 International Women of Courage Award from US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
Full article on University World News site

GERMANY: PhD row ex-minister faces charges
Michael Gardner
Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg, who recently stepped down as Germany’s Minister of Defence following allegations of plagiarism in his doctoral thesis, has also resigned his seat in parliament, meaning he is no longer immune from prosecution. With more than 100 accusations of plagiarism being probed by prosecutors, zu Guttenberg is now facing preliminary court proceedings.
Full report on University World News site

ISRAEL: Bar-Ilan University denies persecution claim
Helena Flusfeder
Bar-Ilan University has denied claims by two of its lecturers that their promotion to the rank of professor was rejected because of alleged political persecution stemming from their political opinions and activities. But the allegations have been endorsed in a signed letter by 70 lecturers from all over Israel.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: McGill likely to be fined for MBA fee hike
Sarah King Head
The province of Quebec and McGill University recently intensified an ongoing standoff over the university’s decision to set tuition rates for its business school that far exceed the province’s low fees. The ministry of education said it would soon impose a financial penalty on the university.
Full report on the University World News site

Australian Higher Education Congress

The fourth annual Australian Higher Education Congress was held in Sydney last Monday and Tuesday and attracted 250 key decision-makers from universities, government and business to discuss the most pressing issues facing vice-chancellors and their administrators. GEOFF MASLEN reports.

GLOBAL: IT could split higher education
Information technology is a multi-faceted and potentially disruptive phenomenon and we should not assume business as usual, the President of the Commonwealth of Learning, Sir John Daniel, told the congress. Delivering the first international keynote address, Daniel said that if used properly, education technology could achieve wider access, higher quality and lower cost all at the same time. This was a revolution – but public universities had failed to achieve these advantages and could lose out to private providers.
Full report on the University World News site

US: Universities and the future of work
The United States was facing a massive shortfall of workers with the educational background to support further economic growth, Dr Tracey Wilen-Daugenti told the congress. She said America would have to produce “64 million degrees” by 2025 to remain competitive in the global economy but, at current degree-completion rates, the nation faced a shortage of 16 million qualified workers.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Caution with offshore campuses
Establishing a campus in another country requires a vast amount of work, absorbs a huge quantity of the time of senior academics and managers, takes even longer to get the campus up and running – and should only be tried if it meets the university’s long-term strategic plans, Monash University Vice-chancellor Professor Ed Byrne told the congress.
Full report on the University World News site




US: Guns should be banned from campus
Texas is considering allowing guns on university campuses in response to recent shooting incidents. But, JOHN WOODS argues, proponents of the legislation appear not to understand how universities work nor to listen to those who do. He fears that if the law is passed in Texas, other states will follow and US universities will surrender something much larger than their rights to self-regulate: the free and honest debate so important to the development of critical thinking skills.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: A question of ethics
The resignation of the head of the London School of Economics due to its links with Libya is not an isolated case, argues BRUCE MACFARLANE. It is a symptom of the fact that universities today have many different ‘stakeholders’. They cannot be all things to all people and need to develop broader ethics policies so they know where to draw the line.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Grade point average: A need for change?
Grade point average (GPA) has been around for more than two centuries. However, it has created a lot of confusion, frustration and anxiety to GPA-producers and users alike, especially when used across-nation for different purposes. KAY CHENG SOH looks into the reasons for such a state of affairs from the perspective of educational measurement and suggests replacing the current multiple-regression approach with a multiple cut-off approach, which promises to simplify the job and yet do it better.
Full report on the University World News site


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INDIA: Reality check on foreign university bill
Only 21% of Indian students in the US who participated in the most comprehensive study yet of their future plans said they would have stayed in India for higher education even with access to American teachers. The finding is significant because it comes as parliament is set to debate the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill aimed at allowing top foreign universities into India, writes Charu Sudan Kasturi for Hindustan Times.
More on the University World News site

AFGANISTAN: No-fee colleges struggle for funds
Already coping with war, poverty and corruption, Afghan colleges are struggling under a government policy that forbids them from charging tuition fees, writes Josh Boak for the Washington Post.
More on the University World News site

US: University presses urged to work together
Operating in this digitally powered era of ‘information hyperabundance’, university presses still get most of their sales revenue from print sales. But they’re also putting more and more energy into trying electronic, open-access and non-traditional publishing – and are likely to be experimenting for a very long time. So says a new report made public last week by the Association of American University Presses, writes Jennifer Howard for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

US: Tuition shock hits business majors
Differential tuition, where schools charge different prices to individual students based on their major or field of study, is becoming an increasingly popular funding mechanism at resource-stretched public research universities in the US, reports Bloomberg Business Week.
More on the University World News site

US: For-profits: A ‘disturbing’ educational model
For investors, it was an impressive story: Bridgepoint Education used seed money from Warburg Pincus in 2005 to buy a struggling religious college with 300 students in Clinton, Iowa, and turned it into an online behemoth with 78,000 students and $216 million in profits last year, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site

UK: Despots and academia: More scandals ‘likely’
The London School of Economics, which is trying to repair the damage done to its reputation by its links with the Gaddafi regime in Libya, is not the only UK university that has accepted money from repressive governments, writes Andy McSmith for The Independent. Saudi Arabia has been a much more lavish investor in British higher education than Libya.
More on the University World News site

UK: The age of the self-starter
A million young Britons are out of work and prospects for many others are grim. But across the UK a growing number of twenty-somethings, fired up with a new spirit of entrepreneurship, are using their laptops to start their own businesses, writes Elizabeth Day for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

UK: Cheating epidemic at Britain's universities
A survey of more than 80 universities has revealed that academic misconduct is soaring at institutions across the country, writes David Barrett for The Telegraph. More than 17,000 incidents of cheating were recorded by universities in the 2009-10 academic year – up at least 50% in four years.
More on the University World News site

JAPAN: Cheating suspect ‘didn't want mom to stress’
A test-preparation school student arrested over the posting of university entrance exam questions on an internet bulletin board has told police he cheated as he did not want to bother his mother with his expenses, reports The China Post.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Government woos Australian students
The government is seeking ways to allow credit transfer for Australian students to study in Malaysian universities for at least one semester, reports The Star. “This credit transfer is an important step as it will involve all universities in Malaysia,” said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Government ‘blackmailed’ university
The Baillieu government has been trying to blackmail the University of Melbourne into overseeing its controversial alpine grazing trial by threatening to withdraw millions of dollars in research funding, writes Melissa Fyfe for The Age.
More on the University World News site

SCOTLAND: University chiefs may face elections
University principals could face direct elections to their posts in future, after the prospect was backed by education secretary Michael Russell, writes Scott Macnab for The Scotsman. They could even be removed from office between elections, the minister said.
More on the University World News site

ISRAEL: Future of Judaism studies at risk – report
A new report presented to the Council of Higher Education warns of a grim future in the field of Jewish philosophy studies, following a drastic decline in research funds and the number of faculty members in the field, writes Tomer Velmer for YNet News.
More on the University World News site

CANADA: University ordered to pay reinstated staff
The University of Prince Edward Island will have to pay out almost $700,000 (US$719,200) after a judge ruled in favour of three employees who were forced into retirement, writes Ryan Ross for The Guardian.
More on the University World News site

EU: Philosopher sparks clash in European Parliament
The centre-right Hungarian government of Viktor Orbán is “criminalising 20 years of democratic transition in the country”, a prominent Hungarian philosopher told the European Parliament this month. MEPs close to the Orbán government denounced her as “a liar”.
More on the University World News site
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