WENR, July/August 2002: Europe


Forum Pushes Free Educational Resources

Free educational resources are critically important for ensuring access to quality higher education in developing countries and full participation of universities in the global arena, said participants of a July forum on the impact of open courseware for higher education in developing countries.

At the Paris UNESCO forum, the 16 principal participants from universities and representatives of six international and non-governmental organizations declared their wish to develop what they called “open educational resources,” which would be available to anyone.

UNESCO Education News [1]
July 10, 2002

EU to Offer New ‘Erasmus World’ Scholarships

The European Union in July announced a scholarship program that will enable 4,200 students from outside the region to study in European master’s programs for two years. It’s all part of Erasmus World [2], a European higher education plan to attract more students from developing countries and enable European students to study elsewhere.

Erasmus World will have an initial scholarship phase of four academic years, beginning in fall 2004. Some 4,200 foreign students will receive scholarships during that period.

Candidates should apply directly to European universities, which in turn will recommend a number of them for the scholarships. Amounting on average to $1,600 per month, the grants will enable students to cover their living expenses while in Europe.

According to Viviane Reding, the European commissioner responsible for education, “European universities receive too few students and visiting scholars from other continents.” “This ‘deficit’ is a problem not only because of its implications for the European Union’s cultural, political and economic influence in the world, but also because our universities, if they developed links between themselves and with the rest of the world, could take advantage of this greater openness to enhance the quality of what they provide.”

The European Union [3]
July 17, 2002


Education Minister Decries Poor Pass Rate

Luc Ferry, education and research minister of France, said recently his country has one of the worst pass rates in the developed world for undergraduate students because French courses do not include general culture and because students have to specialize too soon.

In an interview, Ferry said that while higher education in France is now more available to the masses, the quality of that education needs improvement. Currently, there are more than 1.5 million university students, half of them studying for the initial two-year diploma, the Diplômes d’Études Universitaires Générales (DEUG).

“The pass rate,” he said, “remains one of the weakest in countries of the developed world: only 45 percent of French students get their DEUG in two years; 68 percent in three years.”

Ferry proposed five major policy areas for higher education and research:

This should start at primary school, and universities should organize courses in the history of science for all students.

The Times Higher Education Supplement [4]
July 19, 2002


Chicago, Rome Schools Team Up for Engineering Degree

The University of Illinois [5] at Chicago now offers a master of science degree in mechanical engineering at the Tor Vergata Università [6] in Rome.

The courses will be offered in Rome, taught in English and will specialize in two areas: energy engineering and thermal and fluids engineering.

The program is open to full- and part-time students. Full-time students can complete the program in one academic year. Applicants must have a university degree in a scientific field, equivalent to the Italian laurea or laurea specialistica. They must be fluent in English and must have scored at least 213 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants whose university degrees are from English-speaking countries are exempted from the TOEFL certificate.

Tor Vergata [6]
July 2002

The United Kingdom

Newcastle School Reinvents Image

The University of Northumbria [7] at Newcastle plans to shorten its name to Northumbria University and is designing a new school logo.

“We’ve been up and running for 10 years and everybody knows we’re in Newcastle,” a spokeswoman said. “The students say they’re at Northumbria, so it makes sense to reflect that.”

The university plans to partition its five schools into 11, beginning in September. It is also looking to expand the number of vocational courses it offers to widen participation and encourage life-long learning.

The changes were devised over an 18-month period, with students having a chance to voice their opinions.

The BBC [8]
Aug. 2, 2002

Muslim Students Pass on Britain

The number of Muslims in Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia aspiring to study in Great Britain has slumped since Sept. 11, a study by the British Council [9] has found.

The researchers asked more than 5,000 Muslims between the ages of 15 and 25 living in different countries where they would most like to study. Of those surveyed, 16 percent said, “Britain.” In a similar survey carried out two years ago, 32 percent had the same answer.

Likewise, researchers for Connecting Futures, a government backed project aimed at promoting understanding between Britain and the Islamic World, found that after Sept. 11, students in countries with large Muslim populations were more interested in Japan, Australia and Canada.

At present, there are more than 10,000 Muslims studying in Britain.

The Straits Times [10]
June 10, 2002

‘Cool’ Campus Would Offer Play-stations, PhDs

Trendy, loft-style apartments, a Pizza Express restaurant and Play-stations are being proposed for a new “cool” university campus in South Yorkshire, England. The campus would be for Doncaster Metropolitan University, a proposed university that would combine school, further education and higher education in one “shopping mall”-style institution.

If established, Doncaster hopes to attract 70,000 students with an entertainment-based approach to higher education that was initially pioneered in Australia. The university would be the first in the United Kingdom to cater to students (14-year-olds through adults) by combining leisure and business with school, further education and degree-level study on one campus. The Higher Education Funding Council for England [11] has given backing for the project to proceed to the next phase.

The university would offer a broad range of qualifications, from adult literacy to doctorates.

The Times Higher Education Supplement [4]
June 14, 2002