World in brief - 1 January 2015

January 1, 2015

Gay bar keeps graduates from Bar

The government of British Columbia has revoked its approval for a new law school at Trinity Western University after several Canadian law societies opted not to accredit the school’s graduates because the institution bars students and staff from any sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage. TWU had started legal challenges against the law societies, The Globe and Mail reported, and university president Bob Kuhn said that the institution would explore its legal options in light of the setback.

Can we interest you in the world of science?

The Malta Council for Science and Technology has launched an interactive science centre, known as Esplora, to bridge the gap between science and the general public and to encourage more people to study sciences. The centre, which cost €26 million (£20.6 million) in total, with €12 million from the European Union, will be housed in the former Royal Naval Hospital above the Grand Harbour in Kalkara. At a launch event, Evarist Bartolo, the education minister, said he hoped that Esplora would help to drive an “increase in the number of people employed in science and technology occupations”.

Plan to charge non-EU students falter

Finland has abandoned plans to introduce tuition fees for students from outside the European Union. Plans to charge non-EU students at least €4,000 (£3,170) a year have been sent back to a ministerial working committee after parties in the government’s right-left coalition failed to agree on the policy. Finland hosted about 15,000 non-EU students last year. After the U-turn was announced, two Finnish MPs from the prime minister’s National Coalition Party, Ben Zyskowicz and Sanna Lauslahti, criticised the decision, asking: “Should Finland be the whole world’s free university?”

Education research alliance launched

A new network has been established in Brazil to share research findings that could inform education practices. Academics have set up the National Network of Science for Education with the aim of encouraging research that can benefit teaching and learning in schools and universities, and disseminating the findings. Its founding charter, published on the website of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences on 15 December, says the network will survey existing Brazilian education research groups to create a database of activities.

South Africa
Students who blacked up may return

Two white students who were evicted from their halls of residence at the University of Pretoria after painting their skin black and dressing as domestic workers will be allowed to return to campus. The South African Human Rights Commission had been called in to mediate in a dispute between the university and the two women after a photograph emerged in August of them posing with headscarves and padded bottoms. The Mail & Guardian reported that the pair would be allowed back on campus after they “apologised unconditionally” to the university.

A higher blessing

A Christian college has become the first non-university permitted to approve its own higher education courses under Australia’s new regulation regime. Avondale College in New South Wales, a not-for-profit institution that offers arts, business and teaching degrees, was granted self-accrediting status at the end of last year by Australia’s national regulator, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency. The agency, established in 2012, has been buffeted by controversy over its supposedly heavy-handed approach.

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