World encompassed

May 18, 2007

Asian English-taught courses growing

A growing number of university courses in Asia are being taught in English, a paper from an international higher education research organisation has said.

The London-based Observatory on Borderless Higher Education says that East Asian universities are teaching courses in English to stem the tide of students going abroad to study in English or to overseas universities with Asian campuses.

The growth of these courses could make it more difficult for universities in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia to recruit students from Asia, the report says.

It found that South Korea in particular had seen a growth in the number of programmes offered in English. Korea University taught 5 per cent of its classes in English in 2002 and last year taught 35 per cent of classes in the language.

Staff at Korea University opposed the re-election of the institution's president after he introduced a policy of hiring only staff who could teach in English.

Queensland brews up energy scheme

Environmentally conscious beer drinkers will be pleased to know that Australian scientists have found a way to make "the amber nectar" green.

A team from Queensland University, with brewer Fosters, have created a process for generating electricity from waste water left over from brewing. A microbial fuel cell uses the organisms in the waste water to generate watts and produces clean water and renewable carbon dioxide. A pilot scale model of the technology will be built for a conference at the university in September. The Queensland team is working with scientists at Ghent University in Belgium.

* The Australian Government has introduced a A$5 billion (£2 billion) endowment fund to help the country's universities. Earnings from the scheme's investments will fund campus infrastructure. The money will be awarded in a competitive basis, and universities could match it with funds from private sources.

Student loan scandal sparks vote on code

US legislators have voted to introduce a strict code of conduct for college and student loan companies in the wake of a bribery scandal.

The House of Representatives last week voted for legislation that would ban lenders from making gifts to university student loans officers and require universities to declare their ties with the loans firms. The Bill comes after the resignation of loans officers at several US universities after it was alleged that they had taken gifts or payments in return for putting the loans firms on their preferred lender lists.

Hopes for annual osteoporosis drug

A once-yearly treatment could reduce back fractures in people with a brittle bone disease by 70 per cent, scientists from the universities of California, Aberdeen and Sheffield have found. The new drug for osteoporosis reduced fractures of spinal vertebrae by 70 per cent and hip fractures by 41 per cent.

US colleges hit by hacking and cheating

Dozens of students at a US college are being investigated by prosecutors for their part in a cheating scandal where administrators were paid to alter up to 400 exam grades.

An anonymous caller told officials that a student worker in the admissions office staff at Diablo Valley College near San Francisco had charged up to $600 (£300) for each grade change. At least 74 students may have paid to have their grades altered, and 11 of the students involved are still at the college and could be expelled. Others have since transferred to other universities.

Meanwhile, nearly half of the second-year dentistry students at Indiana University were disciplined after students hacked into password-protected images that were to be used in a test. Nine students were expelled, 16 suspended for periods from three to 24 months and 21 students who knew of the cheating but did not report it received letters of reprimand.

Stockholm gets cash for green centre A Swedish university has been given €22 million (£15 million) to start a new interdisciplinary institute for sustainable development.

Stockholm University got the grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research. The institute will be created by the university with the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Institutions quizzed over infringements

US legislators have written to 19 universities to question them about downloads of pirated music and video on campus.

House of Representatives members from the Judiciary and Education committees wrote to the universities because they had the largest number of copyright infringements reported by the music and film industries.

The questionnaire covers university policies and penalties for misuse of campus computer networks for illegal downloading. The letter says that the survey will help Congress decide whether to legislate against illegal downloading in universities.

Israeli dig discovers tomb of herod

The tomb of King Herod the Great has been unearthed by archaeologists at an Israeli university. The team from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Institute of Archaeology found the grave, sarcophagus and mausoleum of the Roman-appointed King of Judea 15km south of Jerusalem.


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