ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0088 15 January 2012
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HE Events Diary

After a year-long international competition, Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology won the bid to establish a cutting-edge sciences and engineering university in New York. This is what NYC Tech will look like. See the Features section.

Ultra-conservative Salafist Muslims have ended their long protest in favour of the full-face veil at Manouba University in Tunisia. Wagdy Sawahel looks at the implications of the case for academic freedom in North Africa. Credit: TunisiaLive

International higher education partnerships are flourishing, and are transforming the institutions that engage in them, write Susan Buck Sutton and Daniel Obst in a recent book. See the Commentary section.

The trampling to death of a would-be student's mother in a stampede at the University of Johannesburg has shocked South Africa and highlighted flaws in university admissions processes. See the News section. Credit: Independent Newspapers.

University World News was a media partner to the Talloires Network Leadership Conference in 2011, the OECD’s Institutional Management in Higher Education Conference in 2010, and the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education in 2009.


This week’s highlights

In Africa Features, WAGDY SAWAHEL reports on university protests by ultra-conservative Muslims in Tunisia and the implications for academic freedom in North Africa, and KACI RACELMA describes plans for higher education reform in Mauritania. In a global feature EILEEN TRAVERS takes a look at the winning bid from Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to build a cutting-edge sciences and engineering university in New York. In the Commentary section, SUSAN BUCK SUTTON and DANIEL OBST write that international higher education partnerships are flourishing and transforming the institutions that engage in them. ATLE NYHAGEN warns that importing the American higher education model threatens to undermine the central values of European universities and nations, and DENISE KEENE urges institutions worldwide to visibly welcome students with disabilities.

AFRICA: News from across the continent

SOUTH AFRICA: Mother dies in university stampede
The mother of a prospective student was trampled to death and 22 people were injured, two critically, in a stampede for limited slots at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Tuesday. The tragedy highlights flaws in the South African higher education admissions process and the desperation of school-leavers to secure access to a tertiary qualification.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Plan for 1.5 million students by 2030
Karen MacGregor
South Africa’s government plans to raise university enrolments from a current 900,000 to 1.5 million by 2030, to achieve a participation rate in higher education of 23%, according to a green paper published on Thursday. The target for colleges and other post-school institutions is a whopping four million students – a six-fold increase over current numbers.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAWI: Lecturers resume work, but tensions persist
Lecturers in Malawi have resolved to return to work to end nearly a year of academic freedom protests during a long-running impasse with the government. But with tensions and mistrust persisting, lecturers have been firm about setting out the conditions under which they will resume classes.
Full report on the University World News site

TANZANIA: More students expelled from top university
Sylivester Ernest
Drama at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s oldest and most prestigious higher education institution, has continued with the expulsion of 13 more students last Tuesday and the suspension of 86 others for conducting an illegal strike.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Diamond sales to fund student grants
The Zimbabwean government has relaunched student grants, to be financed from diamond sales, in an effort to resuscitate the tertiary sector. Companies have also pulled resources together to come up with student loans. The country’s 2012 national budget has been lauded by lawmakers for prioritising higher education.
Full report on the University World News site

NIGERIA: Reinstated lecturers resume fight in court
Tunde Fatunde
Two years ago the supreme court ordered the council of the University of Ilorin in central Nigeria to immediately reinstate 49 lecturers who had been sacked during nationwide industrial action 10 years ago. Now the reinstated academics are back in the legal trenches asking the court to force the university to fully implement the ruling.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: International agencies to help loans board
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya is planning to approach international financing agencies as it seeks to cope with ever-increasing numbers of university students, most requiring study loans. The country’s higher education loans board, faced with a dwindling pool of funds, has been mulling a range of fundraising options to allow it to keep up with growing demand.
Full report on the University World News site

EGYPT: University unveils desert development project
Ashraf Khaled
With the Nile Delta bursting at the seams with the vast majority of Egypt’s 81 million people, scientists at the provincial University of Mansoura believe it is high time to reclaim large stretches of the desert. The Delta-based public university has unveiled an ambitious plan to increase arable land in the country by more than 20%.
Full report on the University World News site

ZIMBABWE: Gender equity in student enrolment improves
Kudzai Mashininga
Zimbabwe’s higher education affirmative action policy has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of female students at institutions of higher learning.
Full report on the University World News site


NORTH AFRICA: Democracy versus academic freedom?
Wagdy Sawahel
On 5 January Tunisian Salafists, ultra-conservative Muslims, ended a weeks-long protest at Manouba University’s faculty of letters, arts and humanities had forced the institution to close. It is expected to reopen next week. The case has highlighted the implications of democratic changes in the Arab world for academic freedom in universities.
Full report on the University World News site

MAURITANIA: University reforms to bridge deep divides
Kaci Racelma
A government commission has been created in Mauritania with the aim of reforming the country’s higher education system, which has been riven by poor quality and splits between its French- and Arabic-speaking teaching and students. The divide mirrors the country’s linguistic and social make-up with an Arabised north and a black African Francophone south.
Full report on the University World News site


MOROCCO: Jobless graduates stage sit-in at ministry
About 200 unemployed graduates took over the Ministry of Education in Morocco this month, demanding that the government give them written guarantees of work in the public service, reported Libération of Rabat.
Full report on the University World News site

ALGERIA: Teaching hospitals strike over drugs shortage
Researchers and lecturers at teaching hospitals in Algeria completed their first three-day strike last week, with a second stoppage due to start on Sunday following a general meeting at the Mustapha teaching hospital in Algiers, reported Tribune Online of Algiers. The strike involved an estimated 95% of staff.
Full report on the University World News site

BURKINA FASO: Students protest at resits scheduling
Students from the human sciences research unit of the University of Ouagadougou in Burkino Faso have prevented tests taking place because, they claim, the rules for resits have not been followed, reported Le Pays of Ouagadougou.
Full report on the University World News site

ANGOLA: Plans to promote and expand higher education
The Angolan government is to create 6,000 new bursaries in 2012 as part of its policy to promote education, introduced in 2008, Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology Marie Cândida Teixeira has announced. And the Tocoist Church has outlined plans to open a new university later this year or in 2013.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

GLOBAL: International branch campus growth now in Asia
Yojana Sharma
Asia has become the focus of growth in international branch campuses after nearly a decade of rapid expansion in the Middle East, according to a just-released report by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE), the UK-based research organisation. It reveals continued growth and interest in establishing international branch campuses, including by developing countries in other developing regions.
Full report on the University World News site

GREECE: Universities face grave financial threat
Makki Marseilles
Universities and higher education institutions in Greece that have not held elections for the composition of their new management councils are in grave and imminent danger of losing state financial support.
Full report on the University World News site

TAIWAN: Reelected PM promises more China students
Mimi Leung
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou, who emerged the victor of yesterday's closely-fought elections, has promised to take up a suggestion by local university presidents to open up Taiwan's universities to more students from China. Ma has consistently advocated closer relations with China.
Full report on the University World News site

INDIA: Student access soars, but challenges remain
Alya Mishra
India’s efforts to increase higher education participation have paid off, with the gross enrolment ratio (GER) or the proportion of school-leavers aged between 18 and 23 years entering college-level courses, rising from 12.5% in 2007-08 to close to 20%. However, the rise in GER does not necessarily mean an increase in quality or the supply of skilled personnel, academics and policy-makers have warned.
Full report on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: New wave of student protests
Dinesh De Alwis
Buddhist student monks have joined thousands of other university students in a new wave of protests to hit Sri Lanka in recent weeks, forcing the temporary closure of at least two major universities this week and widespread disruption of classes.
Full report on the University World News site

GERMANY: Higher education admissions chaos looms
Michael Gardner
Students in Germany applying for admission-restricted subjects will face chaotic enrolment conditions until at least mid-2013 due to technical problems dogging the introduction of new online national higher education admissions procedures.
Full report on the University World News site

NETHERLANDS: Germany should pay for student influx
Jan Petter Myklebust
The Dutch junior education minister has demanded compensation from Germany for the large number of its students attending universities in The Netherlands. Halbe Zijlstra claimed in a statement to parliament that foreign students cost Dutch taxpayers EUR90 million (US$116 million).
Full report on the University World News site

HAITI: US universities help rebuild higher education
Garry Pierre Pierre
Two years after suffering an earthquake that wreaked massive damage on universities, Haiti’s higher education sector has benefited from international efforts that have revamped buildings but helped reconstruct curricula.
Full report on the University World News site


US: New York campus bid to be world innovation capital
Eileen Travers
Cornell University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s winning plan for a $1.5 billion, environmentally-friendly applied sciences and engineering university in New York could thrust the city to the forefront of high-tech development. Silicon Valley has been warned to brace itself.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Dynamic moment for international partnerships
We are in an era of flourishing international partnerships, say SUSAN BUCK SUTTON and DANIEL OBST. Yes, there may be challenges, but such partnerships enhance and even transform the institutions that engage in them.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: US model threatens European traditions
The American model of higher education is being used for Europe, says ATLE NYHAGEN. But policy-makers are paying little attention to the different historical paths the two regions have followed and application of the US model threatens to undermine the central values of most of the nation states of Europe.
Full report on the University World News site

GLOBAL: Universities need to be vocal about inclusion
Universities and colleges around the world may welcome students with disabilities and learning disorders, but unless they are upfront about this and make it clear on their websites that they are inclusive, they may put some students off applying, says DENISE KEENE.
Full report on the University World News site


GLOBAL: Academic freedom reports worldwide
Noemi Bouet*
In Iran, another scientist has died in a bomb attack strongly resembling earlier assassinations of those involved in the country’s controversial nuclear programme. In Sudan, peaceful student protests across the country have been violently suppressed by security forces. Academics and students at Israel’s Tel Aviv University have condemned the institution’s security services for acting like a “secret police on campus” in pressuring lecturers to help them spy on students. And in Sri Lanka, thousands of students protesting a range of grievances have been evicted from their campus following a court order.
Full report on the University World News site


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INDIA: Lawyers to protest higher education bill
The Bar Council of India has strongly opposed the inclusion of legal education under the proposed National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) and urged the government to remove the legal profession and education from the ambit of the Higher Education and Research Bill 2011, reports The Hindu.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Bills spark fears of ‘police raj’ on education
Three bills the Indian government has lined up to regulate higher education have been described as “draconian” by private institutions, which fear their enactment will bring the segment under a “police raj”, writes GC Shekhar for The Telegraph.
More on the University World News site

UK: University research misconduct ‘alive and well’
Research misconduct is “alive and well” at UK universities, the British Medical Journal has claimed, writes Jack Grove for Times Higher Education. Findings from a survey by the journal published last week found that 13% of UK-based scientists and doctors had witnessed colleagues fabricating or altering research data ahead of publication in peer-reviewed journals.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities collect millions in library fines
UK universities have raised almost £50 million (US$77 million) from fining students for overdue library books in the past six years, reports the Guardian.
More on the University World News site

US: New disclosure rules for economics scholars
Following heavy scrutiny of economists’ conflicts of interest before the financial crash of 2008, the American Economic Association has adopted new guidelines at its annual meeting that require scholars to divulge who supports the research they publish in the association's journals, writes Dan Berrett for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

INDIA: Desperate students turn to high-tech cheating
What do you get when you combine Indian technical wizardry with a desperate shortage of spots in higher education? Some really fancy examination cheating, writes Stephanie Nolen for The Globe and Mail.
More on the University World News site

VIETNAM: Universities grapple with course ban
Ho Chi Minh City’s University of the Food Industry has complained that it has no clue how to deal with the spec ialised tools and personnel of its vocational courses after the Ministry of Education and Training prohibited universities from running occupational courses alongside traditional academic programmes from the next academic year, reports Tuoi Tre News.
More on the University World News site

SRI LANKA: University ragging rages on despite law
Although it is a punishable offence under a 1998 law, ragging incidents varying from verbal to s exual abuse are on the increase at higher education institutions in Sri Lanka, with some students even dropping out due to its serious nature, writes Nadia Fazlulhaq for The Sunday Times.
More on the University World News site

KENYA: Professions roped in to run universities
Professional associations and industry lobbies are to be roped in to the running of universities as the government moves to bridge the gap between training and the skills employers want. The proposal is contained in a draft Universities Bill prepared by a team that the Ministry of Higher Education appointed to align training with the constitution, writes David Herbling for Business Daily.
More on the University World News site

GHANA: Board issues honorary degree warning
Ghana’s National Accreditation Board has warned that it will not recognise honorary and professorial degrees awarded by institutions that do not have the mandate to do so, reports the Daily Graphic.
More on the University World News site

UK: £11m distributed to cut university emissions
Nearly £11 million (US$17 million) in interest-free loans has been distributed to fund projects that will reduce universities' carbon emissions, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.
More on the University World News site

UK: University to open Thailand campus
The University of Central Lancashire is to open a campus in Bangkok, in what is claimed as the first such UK branch university to be established in Thailand, reports Sean Coughlan for BBC News. The university has signed a deal with a Thai-based entrepreneur to open the campus in 2014. Degrees will be taught in English and validated by the UK university.
More on the University World News site

US: Yale to provide tax relief for same-s ex couples
Beginning this month, Yale will join the small number of United States colleges and universities that help offset a federal tax g ay and l esbian employees pay on health coverage received by their partners, writes Gavan Gideon for Yale Daily News.
More on the University World News site

US: College sports reform: Now? Never?
Virtually no matter where you turn for news and commentary, from sophisticated publications like The Atlantic to rants on sports radio for the lowbrow, you’re likely to have been left in recent months with the overwhelming impression that big-time college sports is in crisis, and that momentum is building for some kind of radical action that would result in a wholesale transformation of the enterprise. Don't hold your breath, writes Doug Lederman for Inside Higher Ed.
More on the University World News site

CUBA: Iranian president receives honorary doctorate
The Iranian president has been granted an honorary doctorate because of his incomparable efforts in defence of the establishment of a just international system as well as nations’ rights against capitalist powers, Havana University declared, reports the Islamic Republic News Agency.
More on the University World News site

US: Man accused of starting fake college from prison
A lifelong con man accused of starting a fake university and churning out fake diplomas – while in prison in Wisconsin – appeared in court last Tuesday to face a fraud charge, years after the complex scheme was uncovered, reports Carrie Antlfinger for the Huffington Post.
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US: University suspects fraud by wine researcher
A charge of widespread scientific fraud, involving 26 articles published in 11 journals, was levelled by the University of Connecticut last week against Dipak K Das, one of its researchers whose work reported health benefits of red wine, writes Nicholas Wade for The New York Times.
More on the University World News site
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