Overseas briefing

January 10, 2008

Kenya: Post-poll violence shuts universities
Universities in Kenya have postponed their opening dates, fearing that students and academic staff might be caught up in the post-election violence that has hit the country. Kerega Mutahi, the country's Education Secretary, said no university should reopen before 14 January without government permission. The Chronicle of Higher Education quoted an official at the University of Nairobi as saying that it would remain closed "indefinitely, until peace is maintained". Violence, which had claimed at least 600 lives in Kenya as Times Higher Education went to press, flared after opposition claims that last month's presidential elections were rigged.

Ireland: Foreign student surge
The number of overseas students studying at Irish universities rose to almost 12,000 in 2007. The number of international students in Ireland has risen by 170 per cent in ten years - there were 11,930 students from 114 countries studying there last year. The largest share - over 20 per cent - came from the US, 9.5 per cent from Malaysia and 9.4 per cent from Britain, according to figures released by Ireland's Higher Education Authority.

United States: Middle-class kids qualify for help
Harvard University is to expand financial aid for students from middle-class families. The move will benefit those from households with incomes of up to $180,000 (£91,000) a year. They will now pay no more than 10 per cent of family income - far less than the university's full annual costs of more than $45,000. The move is expected to pile pressure on Harvard's rivals, as most would struggle to match the subsidies underwritten by the university's $35 billion endowment.

Australia: Labor lifts cap on fee-payers
The cap on the proportion of students who pay full tuition fees at Australian universities has been lifted. The country's public universities offer a proportion of undergraduate places to local and foreign students on a full fee-paying basis. Currently, a maximum of 25 per cent pay full fees on most courses, rising to 35 per cent in medicine. In 2006, Australian students paying full fees accounted for about 8 per cent of all public universities places. The new Labor Government has pressed ahead with plans to abolish the cap, despite an official policy favouring a phasing-out of domestic full-fee degrees by next year. The measures were devised by the previous administration, and The Australian newspaper quoted government sources as saying it was stuck with the change.

India: Co-operation movement
The National Co-operative Union of India is to set up the country's first co-operative university. The proposed Jawahar Lal International Co-operative University will offer courses in law, management, co-operation, international trade and information technology. The Times of India reported that the university would consist of 20 co-operative institutions offering vocational and professional education. A union official told the newspaper: "The university would be the result of the co-operative movement in India and would be funded by the movement."

Malaysia: Plan for 'hub of excellence'
Malaysia's Government has set itself the goal of attracting 100,000 foreign students by 2010. Mustapa Mohamed, the Higher Education Minister, said the target was in line with a plan to turn Malaysia into a "regional hub of excellence", the online news agency China View reported. The country currently has about 52,000 foreign students.

United States: Expanding experiences abroad
A US firm will open a network of 12 overseas study centres that could take 20,000 students a year. The for-profit organisation Cultural Ex- periences Abroad will unveil centres in Europe, South America, China and Australia, reports the website InsideHigherEd.com. Geoffrey Bannister, company president, said: "Our goal is to reach more males, more professional students, more students from less wealthy institutions."

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