Saturday, 6 March 2010

UNN breathes new deal for staff and students

The University of Nigeria Nsukka has outlined plans to encourage publication of academic books and research works by lecturers and staff of the institution.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barth Okolo disclosed this during an interactive session with #members of the university community that the move is part of efforts to increase output of the university’s staff in the core area of research.
According to Okolo, the university management “would support staff in finding research collaborators, research grants, sabbatical positions and participation in exchange programmes.”
Only recently, an American university, North Dakota State University in Fargo, had announced its partnership with the university whereby both institutions collaborate in teaching, staff training and research work. “We are now identifying areas where we will focus for collaboration,” explained Kerri Spiering, NDSU associate vice president for Equity, Diversity and Global Outreach. “One priority area of discussion is agriculture, with a lot of different areas of interest. Communication is another possible area for partnerships.”
Spiering also said joint research efforts would be the initial step as the universities work together. She suggested the faculty might join forces to prepare journal articles for publication of develop research grants.
UNN also recently signed on as the 33rd member of the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences. It will in the immediate period register 500 students and 300 academic staff to access the facilities of the Academy. The agreement with the New York Academy of Sciences was signed Thursday, February 4, 2010 at a ceremony at the 250 Greenwich Street New York offices of the Academy. ?Dr. Chima Nwanguma of the Department of Biochemistry led two others – Dr. Nnaemeka Chukwuone and Dr. Ben Okwo – to sign the agreement.
Nwanguma said: “The significance is that as many staff as possible would get the opportunity of unrestricted access to the online resources and archival materials of the Academy dating back 100 years. In this age, it is important to have international linkages and to be abreast of developments across the world of scholarship.”
The US-based Nigerian Higher Education Foundation facilitated the arrangement with the NYAS. Post-graduate students of the University of Nigeria would also benefit from the initiative. They would be enrolled as members of Science Alliance, a programme that provides career education, development and training.

15 months after, disciplinary case still lingers in UI

THE disciplinary case that started in November 2008 after protest by students of the University of Ibadan following hike in fees payable by them is yet to be concluded, as another round of sitting by the Students Disciplinary Committee commenced recently.
Investigations revealed that three out of the seven affected students who are expected to proceed on National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) would not be mobilised for this year’s service, due to the pending case.
The affected students, who expressed dissatisfaction over the lingering case, said that the case had taken too long, saying it is now affecting their future plans, as they added that they were not guilty of the offence they were accused of.
Sources in the Students’ Affairs Division disclosed that the affected students pleaded not guilty, and that the case had been referred to the Central Students’ Disciplinary Committee that would finally decide sometime this month.
One of the cases revisited by the disciplinary committee last week was that of Mellanby Hall students who protested epileptic power supply to the hall last year.
The students were accused of destroying vehicles parked at the Maintenance Unit where they took their grievances to, with the view to ensuring restoration of electricity to the hall.
The students had protested when they discovered that other halls of residence were having electricity.
Some students who spoke CampusLIFE, said the several disciplinary committee letters served the protesting students were aimed at clamping down on students’ activism in the institution, which has been without a Students’ Union since 2000.
Nonetheless, principal officers of the institution have at several occasions affirmed that the authorities would not punish any students in the aftermath of the October 13, 2008 protest over hike in fees.

Bamiro gives reason for admission implosion in UI
IN a recent interaction with members of Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ) University of Ibadan, vice chancellor of the institution, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, explained why the university admitted more students, which led to the population implosion experienced in the school.
At present, some halls of accommodation now house six students in a room against its originally designed four.
Bamiro told the campus pen pushers that the saddest period in his life is during admission, “because you see these bright and young candidates, but you cannot admit beyond a limited number. For a particular course, we can only take 20, so whoever is number 21 will be sent away. In the last exercise, those who applied to UI were over 42,000, out of which we have taken 3,800. If we can manage our asset, we have no reason not to double that. The asset deployed here can handle more than 20,000 students, a university of this size in the United States will have more than 60,000 student population. You turn back somebody because there is no accommodation, and you deny him or her access to knowledge.”
Bamiro said the institution decided to increase its admission quota when the projected post-graduate enrolment dropped. “We wanted to become a post-graduate university, in the sense that in terms of admission, it will be 60 per cent post graduate and 40 per cent undergraduate. But the reality is that while we are reducing the number of undergraduates for the post-graduate students, the PG enrolment is not increasing at the rate we projected. So, why can’t we just help the undergraduate? When we saw that the PG project is still in the long term, we decided to help the nation by admitting more undergraduates to reduce the problem of university admission.”

Rapid increase in overseas postgraduates in UK


BRITISH universities have seen a rapid increase in numbers of international postgraduate students, according to a study commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute and the British Library. In 2007-08, half of masters degree students and 44 per cent of doctoral students were from overseas, the majority from India and China. The UK has almost 12 per cent market share of all international postgraduates, second only to the United States.
Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the institute, said: “This report of the current state of postgraduate education, describes a diverse, growing and successful sector. The growth in overseas students recognizes the strength of UK’s research base but also demonstrates the need to encourage more UK based students to undertake postgraduate study in the UK.” HEPI is also concerned about the declining numbers of British students registering for courses in computer science and engineering where they are significantly outnumbered by international students.
India has the highest number of postgraduates studying in the UK and shows the most rapid rise. Figures from the student records of Higher Education Statistics Agency say that in 2002-03, there were 6,520 first-year enrolments; in 2008-09, the number had risen to 19,615. China’s numbers show a steadier increase from 12, 485 to 15,350 in the same period.
Student numbers from Nigeria rose from 1,615 to 6,335, while those from the US increased from 3,960 to 5,025 and Pakistan from 1,105 to 3,850. Ireland, Germany, France and Taiwan also showed a steady increase. Greece bucked the trend by declining from 7,665 to 3,815 from 2002-03 to 2008-09.
The HEPI study found that business and administrative studies was the most popular subject area taught at postgraduate level, followed by social sciences. The proportion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM subjects, to non-STEM has not changed significantly in the last five years.
At the research postgraduate level, science subjects dominate, especially engineering and technology, biosciences and physical sciences, while social sciences top the non-STEM subjects.
The study also notes the changing nature of teaching. In 2002, only a small number of universities, such as Nottingham, were offering education to students studying wholly abroad through pioneering overseas campuses, and the Open University was the main institution offering postgraduate programmes by distance education.
Last year, 111 out of 166 institutions were offering some form of offshore education to more than 190,000 students, of who around 61,000 were postgraduates. This is a rapid area of expansion for UK higher education institutes, it says.

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