HE News Brief 21.9.10

by Abby Chau

Here are this week’s news stories:

    • Up until a few years ago, Dubai appeared to be financially invincible, it boasted the tallest building in the world and even the SATC girls were paying homage to the city. But fast-forward a few years later, and the economic recession has hit the real estate sector and now many are worried that it will also affect Higher Education. George Mason University of Virginia in the UAE closed a few years ago and recently Michigan State University’s foreign branch in Dubai also shut down its operations. However the executive director of Higher Education Warren Fox, says that the forecast is actually encouraging – in 2004, four foreign campuses operated in the free zone and now the number is close to 30. Fox remains optimistic, saying that it can take a few years before foreign campuses can find an audience.
      Full Story: New York Times
    • Portugal is looking to revamp their higher education system, much in the same way vein as Asia’s institutions. Secretary of State for Higher Education Manuel Heitor says that in order for a country to compete in the economic realm, they must invest in HE. In the 80s, Portugal invested .4 percent of gdp in education, and in 2008, that figure jumped to 1.55 percent. After years of oppression, Portugal has slowly been rebuilding its infrastructure but now it has partnerships with Harvard Medical, MIT, University of Texas at Austin, and Carnegie Mellon.
      Full Story: Chronicle of Higher Education
    • According to the Age, universities who use foreign students to prop up their institution financially should look to Australia as a warning. Now that the percentage of foreign students who are applying to Australian universities is dropping too much the attention of the global academic community, many are arguing that a solely commercial approach to higher education does not work in the long-term.
      Full Story: The Age
    • According to reports, the Nigerian government plans on deregulating Higher Education and the education community, as well the global community, is in an uproar over such a move. UNESCO has reacted to the plan with harsh words saying that by doing so, Nigeria will no longer meet the 26% they promised to donate to education and this will further jeopardize their 2020 Vision which is a set of goals for economic stability.  Nigerians are also angry over the prospects of having to potentially pay higher fees and thus having a system where only the rich can afford to attend university.
      Full Story: University World News
    • Oxford made headlines recently after it was announced they will be opening a new school of government, with students to start courses in 2012. An estimated 120 students will attend each year. Bill Clinton, David Cameron, Kofi Annan, and Nelson Mandela have all given their seal of approval, making this the most popular event since the 2010 World Cup. In a reminder of Oxford’s reputable status, Vice-chancellor Andrew Hamilton said that the institution has educated 26 British prime ministers, and over 30 world leaders. Russian-American philanthropist Len Blavatnik has donated 75 million dollars to help fund this venture.
      Full Story: The Independent
      More: BBC News


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