News in brief

December 21, 2001

New York
Human Rights Watch has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Egyptian sociologist Saadeddin Ibrahim and three colleagues who are appealing against jail sentences for offences that include damaging Egypt's standing abroad. The organisation said the trial, which ended in May, was unfair and reflected only shame on the government. Professor Ibrahim, head of the independent Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies, was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Sylvan Learning Systems, the Baltimore-based for-profit higher education provider, is considering a venture into India via an exploratory deal with the Andhra Pradesh government to develop a 10,000-student university. It would concentrate on career-oriented programmes in information technology, hotel management, engineering, business and health sciences. The company will undertake a six-month study of market potential.

The University of Malawi has closed indefinitely after a week of violent student protests in which a student was shot dead.

Race-conscious admissions policies at the University of Michigan have been aired in a district court hearing seen as a precursor to a showdown on affirmative action before the US Supreme Court. White students alleged they were denied admission because of their colour. The university defended extra admission points for black, Hispanic and Native American applicants.

Linda Nielsen has been elected the first female rector of Copenhagen University. She replaces Kjeld Møllgård, who did not stand for re-election after eight years. Ms Nielsen holds a law degree from Copenhagen.

Colombia's education minister has announced emergency steps to safeguard the constitutional rights to education of 30,000 students hit by the government's suspension of all teaching courses at the Universidad Antonio Narino following allegations of serious maladministration. Students may enrol temporarily at any of 90 university institutes in 29 Colombian cities.


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