World in brief - 10 July 2014

July 10, 2014

United States
Idaho arms campus safety officers

Idaho State University has armed its public safety officers with guns for the first time in response to a new state law allowing people with “concealed-carry permits” to have firearms on campuses, which came into effect last week. “Our objective is to maintain a safe and secure campus environment,” said Steve Chatterton, the college’s director of public safety. “We are increasing our officers’ capabilities to respond.” Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin have also allowed concealed weapons on university campuses.

Fee charges trial nears end

The end of a trial period running from 2010 to 2014 in which select Finnish universities charged fees for some non-European Union students on master’s degree courses is due to come to an end on 31 December. Although this means that “there are no tuition fees charged in Finnish higher education degrees starting in autumn 2014”, reported the Study in Finland website recently, it also stressed that “no [final] tuition fee decisions have yet been made, either for or against”.

Corruption? Our for-profits are clean, says minister

Bangladesh’s government has reacted angrily to a report on alleged corruption at private universities. Transparency International Bangladesh, an anti-corruption non-governmental organisation, recently published a study claiming that private universities are involved in “illegal money” transactions, involving procedures ranging from admissions to degree awards. However, Nurul Islam Nahid, the education minister, told the country’s parliament: “This is a baseless report prepared to tarnish the image of the government.”

Banks may manage student loans in repayments drive

Budget cuts in Guyana are hitting students hard as the government has launched a student loan repayment crackdown. Ashni Singh, finance minister, is concerned that the current level of repayment is “unsatisfactory” and is planning more stringent action to ensure greater compliance. Jacob Opadeyi, the University of Guyana vice-chancellor, reportedly wants banks to be responsible for managing loans, believing they are better equipped to collect debt. He is now in talks with government ministers on the matter.

Institutions ‘overwhelmed’ by ISIS militants

Reports from Iraq say universities have been overrun by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The northern and western parts of the country have been most affected, with the universities of Anbar, Mosul and Tikrit being targeted. Government helicopters last week landed at the University of Tikrit and fierce fighting between state forces and rebels took place. Reports suggest that academics have been stuck in Mosul since June and that ISIS forced students and lecturers out of Anbar.

Foreign students to fuel immigration surge

Overseas students are likely to be the main driving force behind a sharp rise in immigration to Australia over the next few years. The country’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has estimated that international students’ right to work for at least two years after graduation, which was introduced last year, will see student departures fall, before rising to a projected 35,000 a year by 2018. There will be an estimated 123,000 student arrivals in that year.

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