News in brief

May 5, 2011

Bahrain

'Incidents' lead to expulsions

A Bahraini university is reported to have expelled or sacked 200 students, academics and other employees for incidents connected to the recent civil unrest in the country. Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi, president of the University of Bahrain, announced the dismissals, which also include administrative staff and security guards, last week. Dr Janahi told a state news agency that the decision had been taken after "regretful incidents", which he said had caused damage to university property worth 350,000 Bahraini dinar (£564,250). Arabian Business reported that about 120 students had been expelled, while 10 others had been investigated but cleared of wrongdoing, according to the newspaper. No further details were given about the alleged offences.

Denmark

Student curb 'will harm country'

A decline in the number of overseas students in Denmark as a result of government policy could harm the country, a university rector has warned. Jens Oddershede, rector of the University of Southern Denmark, said a plan to balance the number of Danish students studying abroad with the number of students entering the country was "not in Denmark's interest". He was quoted in The Copenhagen Post as saying: "In the long term we would be losing labour force...It would also reduce the competitiveness of our universities." Government data suggest that the number of students from other European Union countries who applied to study at Danish universities fell by one-third in the past year. Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, Denmark's science minister, said a more even balance between incoming and outgoing students was to be welcomed, but she acknowledged that "it is important that Denmark remains an attractive place for students".

Australia

Call for funds for expansion

The number of university students in Australia has risen by 50,000 in the past two years. Ministers welcomed the trend, which they said would help the country to meet industry's growing demand for skilled staff. The government wants 40 per cent of 25- to 34-year-olds to be educated to degree level by 2025. However, university representatives have warned that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's expansion plans will falter without more investment in higher education infrastructure. The Australian newspaper cited the example of Southern Cross University, a regional institution in New South Wales, which has said it is full and will not be able to expand - despite excess demand for places - unless it receives funding for new classrooms.

Uganda

Police blamed for injuries

More than 70 students were injured and seven arrested after clashes with security forces in Uganda over a planned rise in tuition fees in the country. The Monitor newspaper said that most of the injured students were from Makerere University and that they had suffered breathing problems after the police used tear gas on crowds of protesters. The clashes occurred after students began destroying university property during a demonstration opposing the proposed doubling of fees. According to press reports, students brandished tree branches, stones and placards as they abandoned lectures to take part in the protest. Riot police then fired tear gas into the crowd to disperse it after receiving reports of looting and vandalism.

United States

Director accused of cash theft

The director of student accounts at a US university has been charged with embezzling more than $600,000 (£364,613) from the institution. Robert Harlan is accused of stealing the money from Drake University in Iowa where he had worked for 20 years, the Des Moines Register reported. On his arrest, Mr Harlan is reported to have admitted that he had taken the money, saying he gave it to family, friends, the needy and a church. He has been charged with five counts of theft, each of which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years. The charges relate to money that went missing in the past five years. The Des Moines Register said the university would recover all the lost funds from its insurers.

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