The world today: 07/10/09

Higher education news from around the globe

October 7, 2009

Australia

Oz is less than wizard – and a university staff shortage may lie down the road

A “corporate management culture” at universities in Australia is threatening to cause a staffing crisis, according to The Australian.

Widespread dissatisfaction with academic life could result in too few people coming forward to take the place of 5,000 senior academics due to retire by 2019, a study at the University of Melbourne suggests.

Although the salaries of academics in Australia are higher than those of staff in Britain and New Zealand, the study shows that Australian academics work longer hours than their counterparts in Britain, America, Germany and China.

United States of America

Reality bursts the bubble of Hispanic students’ aspirations

Nine out of ten Hispanic students in the US aspire to a university education, but fewer than half say they will go on to complete a bachelors degree, according to a study from the Pew Hispanic Centre in Washington.

In contrast to the findings, reported by USA Today, 60 per cent of young people across all communities intend to go to university.

The divide between aspirations and participation in higher education has been attributed to factors ranging from financial barriers to students’ limited English skills.

The study also shows that of the Hispanic students who do go on to pursue a degree, only one in ten completes their studies.

Germany

Political alliance may lead to greater autonomy for institutions

The re-election of Angela Merkel as Chancellor of Germany presents an opportunity for a coalition of her Christian Democrats (CDU) with the Free Democrats (FDP), an alliance that could be good news for the country’s higher education sector, it has been suggested.

Although education was not a key campaign issue, University World News reports that the FDP manifesto contained the longest statement on higher education of any of the major political parties.

The FDP favours autonomy for institutions. It wants the right for institutions to choose students and students to choose institutions to be enshrined in Germany’s constitution. Both the FDP and the CDU favour student fees.

Indonesia

Chinese language course helps foster better relationship between countries

Xinhua carries an interview with Fasli Jalal, Indonesia’s Director General for Higher Education, who praises the level of co-operation between Indonesia and China in the sector.

Mr Jalal credits a programme of Chinese language training, which has been running in Indonesia for nine years, as the beginning of an “enhanced relationship” between the countries. He said China’s growing importance as an economic power was fuelling enthusiasm for the programme.

Malaysia

Growth in higher education must be funded by private sector

The Star details the Malaysian Government’s drive to attract international students, indicating that private providers will be key to fulfilling its ambitions. At a closed-door meeting for the heads of private higher education institutions, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said public funding for higher education was not set to rise, so any significant growth in the sector would have to come from the private sector.

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