Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The culture of universities (and the importance of hyphens)

I've blogged before about universities and how university culture interacts with the larger culture.
I am reminded of this by a recent Times Higher Education article that I saw in Inside Higher Education, about changes being made in some of the new universities that are trying to get going in Dubai: Adjustments in Dubai

The following paragraph illustrates the clash of cultures, and also the importance of properly placing hyphens (think about what it would mean, for the paragraph and for Dubai, if each hyphen were moved a word earlier...)

"The buzz of activity at Heriot-Watt's campus is surely exactly what was planned when the Dubai Knowledge Village, the first "knowledge free-zone" opened in Dubai in 2003. Like the country's "media free-zone" and "business free-zone," it was set up to allow organizations to operate without the constrictions of Islamic-based Emirati laws."

 The article goes on to say that a large proportion of the students at the British universities in Dubai are Indian students who are unable to go to British universities for one reason or another. One reason for this, apparently, is that within Dubai there is some difficulty in emigrating from the free-zone back to the -free zone:

"International employers in Dubai may be happy to accept courses offered via the free zone's own independent accreditation system, which is overseen by international quality review, but the powerful Emirati government is believed to favor courses that follow its own accreditation model. It is clearly a factor in deciding which institution to attend, according to one student.
"I want to study at one of the UK or U.S. universities at DIAC, but it's very hard to get a civil servant job with these qualifications," she observes. "

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