Overseas briefing

August 14, 2008

South Korea

Seoul searching for students

The number of foreign students at South Korea's universities will rise by 100,000 if government targets are hit. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology has announced an expansion of scholarships available to foreign students to swell numbers by 2010. Universities will receive a combined £1 million to open more English-only and Korean-language classes, and more dormitories will be built to accommodate foreigners, the Korea Times reported. Shin Kang-tak, a ministry official, said: "Attracting overseas students has become important not only for education but also for the economy and diplomacy." The number of foreign students in Korea has tripled over the past four years to 55,000 this year.


Sex, drugs and snoops

Students in India are being hired to spy on their peers by overbearing parents. Kunwar Vikram Singh, owner of a New Delhi detective agency, said common parental concerns included daughters having premarital sex and sons drinking alcohol and taking drugs, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Mr Singh, who claimed to have about 60 or 70 cases a year involving students, said the teenagers hired as investigators believed they were doing "social work". "Antisocial elements trap girls and boys to get into fun parties in farmhouses, and they give them designer drugs, Bacardi Breezers and all sorts of drinks," he said.

South Africa

Black dearth 'disturbing'

The low number of black students in higher education in South Africa is "frightening" and "disturbing", a university leader has said. Russel Botman, rector of Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape Province, said the university participation rate of black Afrikaans-speakers was 4.5 per cent compared with 51 per cent for white Afrikaans-speakers. About 72 per cent of white English-speakers go to university compared with 11 per cent of black English-speakers.


Postmodernist blight

One of Australia's leading academics believes the country's universities are being hobbled by postmodernism. Gavin Kitching, of the University of New South Wales, believes the country's brightest students are being locked into narrow, prescriptive and politically correct ways of thinking by the prevalence of postmodernism, setting them up for "educational failure". In a new book, the professor of politics argues that the theory does "active intellectual damage" to students and clouds their thinking, The Australian reported.

United States

Florida is party hotspot

The University of Florida at Gainesville has the biggest party scene in America, according to the Princeton Review. Institutions topping other categories in the annual rankings included DePaul University, in Chicago, which was the happiest, and Brigham Young University, a Mormon-affiliated institution in Utah, named the most religious.


South Asia's brain bank

The creation of a South Asian university will enable the region to produce a pool of world-class scientists, technologists and thinkers, the Indian Prime Minister said. Plans for the university are already under way, with land acquired in Delhi, Manmohan Singh told the summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation. The university, due to open in 2010, will cater for 5,000 students.

United States

Cheerleaders' crush

How many cheerleaders can you fit into a lift? The answer, it seems, is 26, the number who were trapped after squeezing into a lift at the University of Texas at Austin. They took deep breaths to allow the doors to close, but after descending one floor the lift stalled. Twenty minutes later, following a panicked mobile phone call to the emergency services, they were released by firemen. Only one of the cheerleaders had fainted. But the university did not see the funny side, telling The Austin American-Statesman: "It's dangerous, actually. They're lucky that that's all that happened."

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