The world today: 09 October 2009

A round-up of higher education news from across the globe

October 9, 2009

Australia

Government commits to academic freedom

Academic freedom could be enshrined in Australian law as early as next year, reports The Australian.

The National Tertiary Education Union has won a commitment on the issue from the government after meetings with Julia Gillard, the education minister, and the vice-chancellors of the Australian National University and University of Melbourne.

However, the draft legislation, which would set out limits on governmental interference in university affairs, has raised concerns that institutions could be shielded from legitimate public scrutiny.

New Zealand

New plan to attract investors

The New Zealand Herald gives details on the nation’s first university to raise money by issuing fixed-rate bonds.

The University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, hopes to raise up to £46.2 million from investors to upgrade its facilities, partly in the hope that it will attract more international students.

The university is also offering a “philanthropic option”, whereby investors can forgo all or part of their interest and capital payment as a gift to the institution.

Indonesia

Colonial attitudes ‘alive and well’

Indonesia’s “discriminatory” education system has been attacked by experts, who say that the “spirit of colonialism” and social segregation is still evident.

According to The Jakarta Post, campaigners in the country have claimed that students are being treated simply as “a source of funding”, rather than “constituents” of universities.

USA

All a-twitter over social networking

Inside Higher Ed describes the struggle facing colleges across America as they attempt to make use of social-networking sites to draw in students and funding.

Although use of applications such as Facebook and Twitter is on the rise, few colleges have a strategy for exploiting these relatively new technologies.

Technology experts said a fear of the unknown and a lack of best-practice models in the sector meant that social media had an uncertain future as an income-generating tool.

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