World in brief - 10 April 2014

April 10, 2014

Alleged appointment interference

Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan interfered in the selection of two university leaders, it has been alleged after the leaking of audio files. Posted on Twitter by an anonymous user, the recording is purportedly of a phone conversation between Mr Erdogan and Yekta Sarac, deputy chairman of the Council of Higher Education. Shortly after the recording was posted last month, Mr Erdogan banned the social media site, which has carried recordings over the past few months alleging corruption in his AKP government.

Justice call for shot academic

The International Federation of Journalists has called for justice after an Iraqi academic and journalist was shot dead on 22 March. Mohamed Bdaiwy, a media professor at Al-Mustansiriya University and the Baghdad bureau chief of Radio Free Iraq, was killed by a police officer at a checkpoint while driving to work in the Iraqi capital, according to the IFJ. It added that the soldier had been arrested and the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, had visited the site of the killing.

Expansion plans

India’s ruling Congress Party has promised in its election manifesto to create 70 new universities. The manifesto says that the National Higher Education Mission, established in 2013, “will help create 70 new universities, provide infrastructure in current universities, upgrade autonomous colleges to universities, and create a new model of general degree colleges and professional institutions”.  However, the Congress – the lead party in the ruling coalition – is expected to lose power to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the elections, to be held in April and May.

United States
Campus shooting

A man seen loading a gun near student apartments on the Columbus State University campus in Georgia was shot by university police, later dying of his injuries. A university statement said that the man had no connection to the institution and that no one else was injured in the shooting. Tim Mescon, CSU president, described the incident as a “terrible tragedy” and said the institution had provided counsellors for students to talk to. The shooting occurred near the main campus complex, where about 450 students live.

Tax reforms to fund tuition

Chile’s president has unveiled a series of tax reforms to raise funds for tuition-free higher education. Agence France-Presse reported that the reforms, announced by Michelle Bachelet on 1 April, will generate more than US$8 billion (£4.8 billion) for publicly funded universities and other education reforms. Students in Chile have protested and campaigned for changes to the education system since 2011.

Tooth caps

The Australian Dental Association and the Australian Dental Students Association have called on the Australian government to cap the number of students permitted to study dentistry, to safeguard graduates’ employment prospects. The organisations say that student numbers need to be balanced with the demand for graduates, as they still are in medicine, where there is a cap on numbers. They also call for measures to reduce the number of foreign dentists migrating to Australia, which they say amounts to more than the output of two dental schools.

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