The University of Tokyo, Japan's most prestigious university, is starting its first four-year undergraduate degree in English, The New York Times reported. Officials said that they want to attract more international students to the university, and that they want to expand their pool beyond countries such as South Korea and China where many people become fluent in Japanese. The inaugural class includes students from Australia, Britain, Finland, Poland, the United States and Vietnam.
Students at Sana'a University in Yemen held protests last week to call for an end to political intrusions at the university, Yemen Times reported. Instructors are also protesting what they view as unfair treatment by the government. The protest comes amid debates over who should be appointed rector, and demands that military officials stay off of the campus.
The vice chancellor of the University of Oxford on Tuesday announced a major expansion of the university's fund-raising campaign, but also warned that philanthropy cannot replace state support for higher education. Andrew Hamilton, the vice chancellor, upped the goal for the campaign from £1.25 million to £3 billion (or from $2 billion to $4.8 billion). In a speech praising the role of philanthropy, he also cautioned against assuming that it can pay for all the costs associated with the university. Philanthropy is not, he said, "a magic bullet for the future funding of our universities, and nor is it a door through which the state can progressively leave the scene."
The announcement last month by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology that it was making an indefinite loan of 24 artifacts from ancient Troy to Turkey is one of the Turkish victories in the country's controversial campaign to recover antiquities, The New York Times reported. In the deal with Penn, Turkey promised future loans and collaboration on other projects. Many museums in the United States and Europe have faced demands in recent years that they return art taken from Greece, Turkey and other nations under questionable circumstances in eras before current ethical standards for excavations were in place. The Times article noted, however, that some museum directors question Turkey's approach to the issue, Critics have charged that Turkish museums have art taken from lands ruled in the Ottoman period that are now independent nations. "The Turks are engaging in polemics and nasty politics," said Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. "They should be careful about making moral claims when their museums are full of looted treasures."
An article in The Irish Times explores the reasons why experts periodically propose (as happened last week in a government-requested report) that Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin be merged, and why just about everyone associated with the two institutions hates the idea. The idea of a merger is that a combined institution would be stronger (especially in international rankings). Historically, religion and class might have divided the two institutions, since Trinity was founded for the Protestant elite under English royal rule, UCD was founded by Roman Catholics to serve those excluded from Trinity. Today such ethnic divides are less evident, although the universities prefer to be rivals who sometimes cooperate than to shed their institutional identities, the article said.
The MasterCard Foundation on Wednesday pledged $500 million for scholarships for African students over the next 10 years. Many of the students will enroll at institutions that are partners in the program. Among them are the American University of Beirut, Arizona State University, Ashesi University, Duke University, EARTH University, Michigan State University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley and Wellesley College. Details on the new program may be found here.