Overseas briefing

June 5, 2008

India

Expats welcomed back to study

India's first university for Indians who live outside the country is to open in Bangalore. The institution, which is to be set up by the Manipal Academy of Higher Education Trust, will aim to tap into demand for higher education among the huge population of Indians living abroad. It is estimated that 20 million people of Indian origin live outside India, and that their combined wealth exceeds the country's entire gross domestic product. The Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs said the private university would have to abide by the Government's quotas for Indian home students. The institution will be up and running in time for the next academic year, The Mangalorean reported.

United States

Oh, what a beautiful windfall

A $100 million (£50.6 million) donation has been made to a US university, the largest gift to a higher education institution from a living donor this year. The cash has been handed over to Oklahoma State University by energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, The New York Times reported. Oklahoma law dictates that gifts to universities that are for endowed chairs, as is Mr Pickens's, must be matched with public funding, which brings Oklahoma State's windfall to $200 million.

Australia

'Aboriginal industry' attacked

A leading Aboriginal academic has criticised those involved in Australia's "Aboriginal industry" for failing to tackle the problems facing indigenous people. Stephen Hagan, a lecturer at Southern Cross University in New South Wales, said not enough was being done to address problems such as domestic violence and a lack of social and economic parity. "This insidious problem has obviously been allowed to fester unchallenged by people in positions of responsibility for far too long," he said. However, he also said that Aboriginal people had to do more to improve their own lot, including raising their aspirations in education, The Australian newspaper reported. "Many of our mob are doing themselves a disservice by routinely singing the 'poor bugger me' tune," Mr Hagan said.

Canada

Bounty raised for stolen gold

A university in Vancouver, Canada, has offered a reward for the return of millions of dollars worth of gold artworks stolen from its Museum of Anthropology. The University of British Columbia has put up C$50,000 (£25,700) for information about the stolen art, including Inca jewellery and several pieces by acclaimed native Canadian artist Bill Reid. Police fear that the thieves may not be able to sell on the recognisable items - which are worth about C$2 million - and will melt them down, although the gold they contain is worth only about C$15,000.

Israel

Strike nets gains for non-tenured

A lecturers' strike in Israel has led to a breakthrough in a long-running pay dispute. The industrial action last week involved lecturers without tenure, who demanded better pay as well as other benefits. Their grievance is reported to have been compounded by what some academics say is a widespread practice in the sector of making lecturers redundant after eight months to stop them securing employee rights. The strike began at Haifa's Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and was due to move to a different university each day. However, the action was called off after the breakthrough, which will see a 17.5 per cent pay rise for non-tenured lecturers as well as pension rights and other benefits.

United States

Suit follows wilderness trauma

A wilderness trip for students has resulted in a lawsuit being launched in the Ohio Court of Claims against a US university. The parents of Christopher Mance, a 21-year-old student who had an epileptic fit and fell face first into a campfire on the outing, have accused Ohio University of failing to protect their son. The family is demanding $300,000 (£152,000) in compensation for the severe burns he sustained. Their attorney said that during the trip students were left alone in secluded woodland to find food, and no special measures were taken for Mr Mance, despite his medical history.

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