Showing posts from September, 2013

UNITED KINGDOM: England has ‘too many’ universities

Times Higher Education 28 September 2013 Issue No:289   England has “too many” universities and some are likely to close, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry has warned. John Cridland was given a rough reception over his views at a fringe meeting at the Labour conference in Brighton last week, with the Million+ group of newer universities rejecting his argument, writes John Morgan for Times Higher Education . Pam Tatlow, chief executive of Million+, challenged Cridland from the audience . “In 2009, 2010, universities were full … The idea that we have a fringe about Bright Britain and we come away with the message that universities might go down the pan might not be a good one,” she said. Tatlow suggested that rather than "too many students" or "too many universities ", the problem was “a funding system that is not doing the right things”. Full report on the Times Higher Education site  

SINGAPORE: Universities set to dig deep for expansion

The New York Times 28 September 2013 Issue No:289     At universities in land -strapped Singapore, students may one day borrow books from an underground library, attend lectures in a subterranean auditorium or even swim in an Olympic-size swimming pool below sea level , writes Calvin Yang for The New York Times . Two of the city’s public universities, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of Singapore, have completed preliminary studies on developing the space beneath their campuses for lecture theatres, laboratories, sports facilities and performance halls. A third school, Singapore Management University, has already constructed a basement-level space linking its main above-ground buildings . At NTU, a group of researchers has spent the past year gathering available data on the university’s surface topography and subsurface geology . The preliminary survey found that the campus offers opportunities for underground space dev

THAILAND: Minister criticises ‘unfair’ university entrance exams

Direct exams hurting poor, says Chaturon Minister renews plea on uni selection tests 26/09/2013 Lamphai Intathep Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng has repeated his call for universities to cut the number of recruitment rounds held through direct admissions to ensure fairness to poor students. The frequent exams held by universities under the direct admission method give students from well-to-do families an edge over those who are financially worse off and are unable to pay for the cost of sitting the tests, he said. Universities are allowed to directly recruit new students under the direct admission system The Council of University Presidents of Thailand has requested 27 member universities, however, to limit this enrolment method to no more than 50% of new students. Mr Chaturon said he has other worries about the direct recruitment exams. Students have complained that many of the exam questions cover material other than t

THAILAND: University uniforms challenge – And academic freedom

Suluck Lamubol 28 September 2013 Issue No:289   Thailand’s Thammasat University, one of the few in the country that does not require students to wear uniforms, has sparked a nationwide debate after a student launched a provocative campaign challenging the need for uniforms in higher education. Now the matter has taken a new turn, transforming into an academic freedom issue. The controversial campaign involving racy posters at the Thammasat University campus in Bangkok was led by Saran Chuichai (20), a transgender student at the university known by her nickname ‘Aum Neko’. The posters depicting Aum and another student in provocative poses had to be taken down two days after they first went up at the institution’s Rangsit campus in early September, as the university authorities viewed them as inappropriate. Rector Somkit Lertpaithoon has said disciplinary action would be taken against Aum. Somkit also told local media that the university would appoint

United States: Education What Colleges Will Teach in 2025

By Jon Meacham Reports on what supposedly educated Americans know—and more sensationally , don’t know—come along fairly regularly, each more depressing than the last. A survey of recent college graduates commissioned by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and conducted by GfK Roper last year found that barely half knew that the U.S. Constitution ­establishes the separation of powers. Forty-­three percent failed to identify John Roberts as Chief Justice; 62% didn’t know the correct length of congressional terms of office. Higher education has never been more expensive—or seemingly less demanding. According to the 2011 book Academically Adrift , by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, full-time students in 1961 devoted 40 hours per week to schoolwork and studying; by 2003 that had declined to 27 hours. And even those hours may not be all that effective: the book also notes that 36% of college graduates had not shown any significant cognitive gains over fou

VIETNAM: Research chemist launches Vietnam’s first MOOCs site

Hiep Pham 21 September 2013 Issue No:288   A new Vietnamese-language massive open online courses – MOOCs – system was launched last month, offering free online education that juxtaposes short teaching videos with longer courses from international MOOCs giants edX and Coursera. Research scientist and entrepreneur Dr Giap van Duong, founder of the new MOOC GiapSchool, left his research position at the National University of Singapore in December to return to Vietnam and devote himself full-time to building the new open education channel. His initial plan was to translate scientific and technical books from English to Vietnamese, but then he decided to create GiapSchool “ in response to the dramatic boom in MOOCs, which at that time already involved reputable universities like MIT, Harvard and Stanford”, Giap told University World News . Using a software program called Explain Everything, which is capable of recording a lecturer’s voice as well as add