Overseas briefing

October 22, 2009

Europe

Bologna's wider lessons

The Bologna Process has applications beyond the borders of Europe, the president of the European Universities Association has said. Speaking at the association's autumn conference in Germany last week, Jean-Marc Rapp said that universities need a better understanding of international co-operation as well as national and regional missions. He added that the expertise gained by European universities in implementing Bologna - which aims to create a European Higher Education Area by 2010 - should be used to "stimulate international co-operation outside Europe".

United States

Uproar over journal prices

American library directors have hit out at a massive increase in the price of a leading science journal. A group of 50 head librarians have sent a letter protesting the price hike to Steven Inchcoombe, managing director of Nature Publishing Group, which publishes Scientific American. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the publisher proposes to charge $299 (£187) for a 2010 print subscription, a rise of 648 per cent, and up to $1,500 for an annual online licence, an increase of 50 per cent. Leading librarians from liberal-arts colleges including Haverford, Washington and Kenyon have signed the letter of protest.

Africa

Web inequality hampers research

African universities' attempts to access information and cutting-edge research online are being hampered by the prohibitive costs. Institutions in Africa can pay up to 50 times more than their US counterparts to access the same information, and an African university of 20,000 students typically has access to the same internet bandwidth as a single American household, the Voice of America News website reported. Ibrahima Diane, a postgraduate student at the University of Dakar, said: "We're studying current issues so we need up-to-date information, but we are working with articles from 2005 or even 2002." In an attempt to solve the problem, universities are setting up information-sharing networks to improve access to research, such as the Ubuntu Alliance of ten research institutions in southern and eastern Africa.

Australia

Overseas growth 'unsustainable'

Australia cannot continue to recruit Chinese and Indian students at today's levels without compromising standards, the country's largest overseas recruiter has warned. The Australian newspaper said that Tony Pollock, chief executive of international-enrolment service IDP Education, warned Higher Ed Services - a university management consultancy owned by Universities Australia - that current growth is unsustainable. "We can't cope with 30 per cent growth. Single-digit quality growth in our major markets is in the sector's and Australia's interests," he said. China and India account for more than 40 per cent of Australia's 547,600 overseas-student enrolments.

United States

Bill bad news for student health

Barack Obama's healthcare reforms, approved by the Senate Finance Committee last week, fail to take account of students' needs, the US news website Inside Higher Ed reported. As the contentious Bill returns to Congress, the issue of what provisions the final legislation will make for college students and campus-based healthcare remains unresolved. "Congress simply isn't thinking about college students' healthcare," said Jim Turner, president of the American College Health Association. "The legislation could unintentionally eliminate student health-insurance programmes."

India

Franco-Indian nuclear masters

The University of Delhi is joining forces with seven French institutions to offer a dual degree in nuclear science. Students enrolled on the three-year MTech in nuclear science and technology will spend their third and fourth semesters in Paris and be awarded a masters degree in nuclear energy, the Times of India newspaper reported. After their fourth and fifth semester, spent in Delhi, they would graduate with an MTech degree. Partners include the University of Paris and ParisTech.

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