Overseas briefing

April 10, 2008


Greater student capacity urged

The flow of Indian students to overseas universities could be stemmed by increased investment in new institutions, a government adviser has said. Concerns about the sums of money that leave India as students pay to study abroad have been raised by government, industry and education leaders, The Times of India reported. According to a recent survey, most students leave because of capacity restraints at Indian universities. Balchandra Mungekar, a member of the Education Planning Commission, said the private sector had an important role to play in establishing new provision. "It is difficult to provide higher education without the help of private players. All new (institutions) will be set up with a public-private partnership model," he said.


Lecturers fined for late grades

Academics who are late turning in students' grades at the end of term are fined $10 (£5) a time at a US university. The initiative at Florida State University was introduced to tackle a problem which, at its height, saw 10 to 15 per cent of grades delivered late. Now the university fines its teaching staff every time a grade is not submitted promptly, the only institution in the country to do so. Kimberly Barber, interim registrar at Florida State, told an audience of administrators at a national conference that some tardy academics had been hit by five-figure fines in the first term, InsideHigherEd.com reported.


Students offered free food

Students struggling to cope with high living costs in a prosperous city in southern China are to be given free rice by their university. Some 36,000 students are in line to receive the free food if they eat on campus at Xiamen University, located in a port across the strait from Taiwan. The university said it introduced the policy in response to soaring living costs in some Chinese cities, where the national consumer price index rose to an 11-year high in February, news agency Xinhua reported. The Ministry of Education has asked local education authorities and universities to keep fees stable and to subsidise students from low-income families.


Fellowship drive to be open to all

An Australian drive to boost mid-career researchers by providing 1,000 fellowships worth up to A$140,000 (£64,500) each will be opened to international competition. Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, made the announcement in a speech to business leaders in Melbourne. "We can't demand that business become internationally competitive while shielding our researchers behind protective barriers," he said. The Future Fellowships scheme will also allocate A$50,000 to institutions to cover research costs. "Our aim is to attract the world's best - who may or may not be Australian - and to get them working here on problems that matter to us," Mr Carr said.


Native students take legal action

A lawsuit has been launched against a US university over alleged discrimination following a sorority party with a "cowboys and Indians" theme. Complaints were lodged by a group of Native American students after photographs from the party at the University of North Dakota were posted online showing students in Indian dress, the Minneapolis Post reported. The sorority that held the party has been put on probation by its national office and by the university's dean of students pending an investigation. The legal action follows a campaign to force the University of North Dakota to ditch the "Fighting Sioux" logo and nickname used by its athletic teams.


Demographics causes bankruptcy

A slump in the number of 18-year-olds in Japan is being blamed for a university going bust. Risshikan University in Hiroshima, which failed to attract enough students, is the first Japanese university to go bankrupt in the postwar era. The number of 18-year-olds in Japan has slumped from 2.05 million in 1992 to 1.3 million in 2008. Hiroshi Saito, a university administrator in Osaka, said: "Universities are having to cut tuition charges, improve facilities and work much harder to entice students."

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