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NZ and Malaysian VCs discuss collaboration

NZVCC Electronic News Bulletin Vol. 6 No. 12 11 July 2006
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Lead item …

NZ and Malaysian VCs discuss collaboration

A 10-strong Malaysian Vice-Chancellors delegation led by MVCC chair Professor Dato’ Dzulkifli Abdul Razak met with NZVCC representatives led by Professor Roy Sharp in Wellington this morning. On the agenda for discussion were the respective internationalisation policies and strategies of the Malaysian and New Zealand universities and governments, along with collaboration opportunities around academic and research exchange. Research links were discussed around identified areas of possible co-operation. Two-way student mobility was another avenue explored with the Malaysian delegation making the point that an increasing number of university courses in Malaysia were now taught in English. A further goal was for all Malaysian university science courses to be taught in English, following a practice now being adopted for the Malaysian secondary school system. In part the delegation was preparing the way for a visit by the Malaysian Minister for Higher Education to New Zealand.

The Malaysian university system is now funded to achieve 75% of university teaching staff to be qualified at PhD level by 2010, in line with the “Ninth Malaysia Plan” entitled “Together Towards Excellence, Glory and Distinction”. This morning’s meeting explored ways New Zealand could contribute to this initiative through such devices as joint supervision of PhD students. The Malay delegation also invited New Zealand Vice-Chancellors to take part in a reciprocal meeting next year in Malaysia.

Last week the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee hosted a similar delegation of Malaysia Vice-Chancellors for a two-day meting in Sydney aimed at strengthening university ties between those two countries. In 1998 the AVCC signed a memorandum of understanding with the MVCC for a series of collaborative programmes over five years and last week’s meeting discussed the possibility of resigning that MOU.

Other items …

University R&D expenditure growth documented

The recently released Ministry of Research, Science and Technology publication Research and Development in New Zealand – A Decade in Review says the growth rate of expenditure on R&D in universities from 1994 to 2004 was 10% per annum in current price terms and 8% in constant price terms. By contrast, over the same period R&D expenditure in Crown Research Institutes increased by an annual average of 3% in current price terms.

AUT Vice-Chancellor reappointed

Auckland University of Technology Vice-Chancellor Mr Derek McCormack has been reappointed for a five-year term from April 2007, AUT Chancellor Sir Paul Reeves has announced. Mr McCormack became AUT Vice-Chancellor in April 2004, having previously served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

NZUAAU student engagement symposium proceedings published

The NZ Universities’ Academic Audit Unit has published the proceedings of its student engagement symposium held earlier this year. Entitled Student engagement: measuring and enhancing engagement with learning, the proceedings are available as a PDF from: www.aau.ac.nz

The main aim of the symposium – participants were drawn from tertiary institutions, government and educational agencies – was to “weave together conversations” taking place around the country about student engagement. The result would provide ideas for institutional support for students’ learning. “A call for leadership”, included in the proceedings, has been reproduced as a separate leaflet. In that statement, participants ask for a “significant, positive change in direction regarding the measurement of quality”. Academic leaders are invited to facilitate appropriate discussions with their colleagues and relevant Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Commission and NZ Qualifications Authority officials. According to an NZUAAU memorandum: “The participants believe that the statement aligns with the Tertiary Education Minister’s recent call for better measures of quality and relevance for learners. Participants are of the view that there should be a focus on student engagement in learning rather than on student satisfaction as a third key performance quality indicator alongside completion and retention measures.”

German-NZ academic links agreement signed

An academic links agreement between the peak bodies of the German and New Zealand university systems – the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK - German Rectors’ Conference) and the NZVCC – was signed recently. HRK President Professor Margret Wintermantel and Professor Roger Field, Lincoln University Vice-Chancellor and chair of the NZVCC Committee on University Academic Programmes, formalised the agreement at the HRK offices in Berlin.

The agreement is essentially a framework which provides and encourages greater bilateral co-operation between universities in each country. It promotes exchange in research, scholarship and teaching. Undergraduate student exchange and graduate placement are furthered by a set of recognition standards. Likewise, research collaboration, research staff exchange, symposia participation and co-operation on the basis of electronic networks, publications and teaching materials will be facilitated by the agreement.

Professor Field said all eight New Zealand universities had maintained links with German institutions and there was a long history of academic co-operation between the two counties. Close to a thousand German students were currently studying in New Zealand universities, about half of them at postgraduate level.

India opens door to foreign universities

Foreign universities will now be able to set up campuses in India as a result of the expected passage of the Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, according to a report in The Hindu. "After the Bill is cleared by the cabinet and passed by the Parliament, foreign universities will be able to set up campuses in India and award degrees," the report said. Universities which met the criteria and fulfilled all the conditions would be given the status of a “deemed university” under the UGC Act. To guard against fly-by-night operators, only universities accredited by relevant authorities in their home country would be allowed to set up base in India. The bill would make it mandatory for universities wanting to start operations in India to set up operations on their own account rather than through franchises. However, existing franchise operations of foreign universities would be allowed to continue.


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The New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee Electronic News Bulletin is produced every second Tuesday and distributed to parties with an interest in the Committee’s affairs. Back issues are archived on the NZVCC website: www.nzvcc.ac.nz

ENDS

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