November 2006


(From The Guardian  by Donald MacLeod, 11.21.06)

The American education company Kaplan is planning to become the UK’s first for-profit university, taking advantage of the government’s relaxing of the law on degree-awarding powers.

The company, which built its reputation on coaching generations of American students for the SAT university entry tests, has revenues of more than $1bn and has joint ventures with Nottingham Trent and Sheffield universities. Last year it bought Holborn College, a private law and business college in London with 1,900 students. Kaplan is the largest trainer of accountants in the UK. (read more here)

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UNESCO and HP launched last week a project to help reduce brain drain in Africa by providing grid computing technology to universities in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe

(UNESCO)

UNESCO and Hewlett-Packard have launched a joint project to help reduce brain drain in Africa by providing grid computing technology to universities in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe. I.S.G. Mudenge, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, took part in the launch of the “Piloting Solutions for Reversing Brain Drain into Brain Gain for Africa” project, at UNESCO Headquarters on 20 November. The representatives of Senegal and Ghana to UNESCO, as well as Peter Smith, Assistant UNESCO Director-General for Education, and Bernard Meric, Senior Vice President of Hewlett Packard for Europe, Middle East and Africa, took part in the launch (9.30 a.m. – 12 noon, Room VIII) of the project to provide university laboratories and research centres with systems of interconnections that will enable students and faculty to work with researchers and professionals around the world.

The project aims to establish links between researchers who have stayed in their countries and those that have left, connecting scientists to international colleagues, research networks and potential funding organizations. Faculties and students at beneficiary universities will also be able to work on major collaborative research projects with other institutions around the world. (read more here)

(International Herald Tribune by Associated Press, 11.25.06)
[ AP writes] Education ministers for South America’s Mercosur countries are proposing a university that would have at least one campus in each member of the trade block, the official Brazilian news agency said Saturday.

The officials from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela on Friday established a commission to work out details of the multinational university during a meeting in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.

Brazil’s Education Minister Fernando Haddad told local media that a deadline for the university’s inauguration has not been set, but said that the resources for its construction are already in place. The project has not yet been approved by Mercosur’s leaders.

The first University of Mercosur was projected to operate in Brazil and later to open campuses in other member countries.

(ahoraeducacion, 07.20.06)

[spanish translation] Within the framework of the protocol of educative cooperation between Argentina and Brazil signed today, the minister of Education, Science and Technology, Daniel Filmus, and their Brazilian pair, Fernando Haddad, decided to initiate studies for the creation of a regional university.

The institution, that constitutes the first passage for the creation of a university of the Mercosur, will be conformed by a network of Argentine and Brazilian universities, located in the provinces and states of border, with mobility of educational, students and investigators.

Also, it is anticipated that the acreditation and diplomas of the future university to be recognized by all the countries of the Mercosur, and that his curricular contents prioritize thematic linked to the diverse aspects of regional integration. (read more here)

Related links:

Web site of the ‘Mercosur Educativo’

A new Oxfam report calling on developing country governments to devote a greater proportion of their budgets to building these vital services for their citizens, and a critic of the World Bank policies.

(Oxfam, september 2006)

[Oxfam] Classrooms with teachers, clinics with nurses, running taps and working toilets: these basic public services are key to ending global poverty, according to a new report from Oxfam and WaterAid. And, the agencies say, only governments are in a position to deliver them on the scale needed to transform the lives of millions living in poverty.

The report, “In the Public Interest”, calls on developing country governments to devote a greater proportion of their budgets to building these vital services for their citizens – and for rich countries to support their plans with increased, long-term aid commitment.

“ Building up public services in poor countries is key to making poverty history,” said Oxfam’s policy advisor Max Lawson, “What greater investment could there be than paying for the training and salaries of teachers and health workers, or developing national water and sanitation systems?”

Rich countries and the World Bank come under fire for undermining governments’ ability to deliver public services by pushing inappropriate private sector projects in water provision and health. The report acknowledges that the private sector has a role to play, along with charities and faith groups, but argues they cannot provide services on the necessary scale, geared to the needs of all citizens, including women and girls, minorities and the very poorest.

The report argues that universal public services were the basis for today’s prosperity in rich countries.

“A hundred years ago, life expectancies in Europe weren’t so very different from modern-day Africa,” said Lawson. “It was only through strong government-led programmes that we tackled disease and created an educated workforce, laying the foundations for the level of wealth we enjoy today.” (read more here)

A critic of the Oxfam Report from the perspective of the World Bank policies advocates

(From PSD posted by Christine Bowers, 11.16.06)

[Christine Bowers writes] According to William Kramer at NextBillion, Oxfam continues to bash private sector approaches to development:

As I read this report, the private sector is seen as the enemy at worst and a wild beast to be caged at best, the profit motive as antithetical to welfare, and more aid as the solution.

Oxfam’s new report is In the Public Interest: Health, Education, and Water and Sanitation for All – another call for massive aid flows. One recommendation: Abolish fees for basic education and health care and subsidise water for poor people.

Seems they haven’t read James Tooley’s excellent essay on (private) slum schools, which puts up a convincing challenge to the idea of free public education as a human right.

Related materials:

In the Public Interest: Health, Education, and Water and Sanitation for All – Oxfam / WaterAid report – Septemb 2006 Download a PDF file of the full report (2MB)

Twelve page summary (398KB)

Public not private – key to ending global poverty – press release (1 September 2006)

Related links:

In the Public Interest – foreword by Mary Robinson, President, Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, and Honorary President, Oxfam International

(From APDIP, 11.14.06)

The UN Asian Pacific Development Information Programme has donated 15 of its e-Primers to Wikibooks for free use and update (see list below)

Nine of the e-Primers are part of APDIP’s “e-Primers for the Information Economy, Society and Polity” series that detail the concepts, issues and trends surrounding different aspects of ICT4D, including e-commerce, education, e-government, Internet governance, legal and regulatory issues, and ICT for poverty reduction. (read more here)

Related materials:

e-Primers for the Information Economy, Society and Polity

1. The Information Age

2. Legal and Regulatory Issues in the Information Economy

3. Nets, Webs and the Information Infrastructure

4. Information and Communication Technologies for Poverty Alleviation

5. Internet Governance

6. e-Government

7. e-Commerce and e-Business

8. ICT in Education

9. Genes, Technology and Policy

(more…)

(From Development Gateway posted by Thomas Bekkers, 11.23.06 )

UNESCO announced a new higher education institutions portal during an experts meeting in paris (13-11-2006). Free of charge, easy to access and searchable, these are the characteristics of a future “UNESCO Portal on Recognized Higher Education Institutions”.

The principal aim of the project is to increase the transparency of quality provision in cross-border higher education by providing information and easy access to online resources for students through a UNESCO-hosted portal. The pilot project will involve a limited number of countries who are each responsible for their own national content. Once the feasibility, cost-effectiveness and sustainability of the project are established, it can provide the foundations for the implementation of a larger-scale project hosted by UNESCO.

This project is a follow-up to the UNESCO/OECD Guidelines on Quality Provision in Cross-Border Higher Education.

Related materials:

UniversitySurf [is] a french language e-learning portal , hosted by the University of Bourgogne, containing 1,400 courses and links to thousands more online resources in French. It is possible to access to different language versions of the portal, through an autamatic translator provide by altavista, at the website

(From IIEP Web site)

UniversitySurf offers free and open access to teaching materials and resources from French universities and schools, national research centres (CNRS), Francophone universities worldwide and many personal teaching sites. Resources are searchable by level and discipline. Users can suggest links to new teaching materials. Educators can put their own resources online through the portal, using Moodle. The portal also gathers information on higher education in France and open and distance learning.

Related links:

The e-learning portal UniversitySurf

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