World in brief - 13 November 2014

November 13, 2014

Source: Alamy

United States
Free tanning beds available at colleges despite health risk

Almost half of the top ranked universities in the US (48 per cent) have tanning beds on or near campus, according to a study in the journal JAMA Dermatology. Of the 42 per cent that have tanning beds in off-campus housing, nearly all offered free unlimited use despite the risk of skin cancer associated with overuse. “We encourage universities to adopt a tan-free campus,” said lead author Sherry Pagoto, associate professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts.

Republic of Ireland
Technological university plans announced

Ireland’s minister for education and skills, Jan O’Sullivan, has announced plans to reinvigorate the project of creating a technological university in the southeast of Ireland. Such institutions, she said, “add to the economy and social fabric of [their] regions” while also “providing excellent education opportunities”. The minister announced a consultation on the project with the governing bodies, staff and students of the Waterford Institute of Technology and Carlow Institute of Technology, as well as other local stake-holders.

Steve Jobs memorial removed; ‘sodomy’ fears cited

An iPhone-shaped memorial to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has been removed from outside a Russian university after the firm’s chief executive, Tim Cook, announced he is gay. The 2m high statue was placed outside St Petersburg’s National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics in January 2013 by West European Financial Union (ZEFS), a Russian group of companies. “After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide by the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values,” ZEFS said.

Strike for 43 missing trainee teachers

Mexican university students staged a 72-hour strike in support of 43 missing trainee teachers who are now feared dead. The students, from a teacher-training college in Ayotzinapa, failed to return from a protest against discriminatory hiring practices in Iguala on 26 September. Media reports suggest that their bus was stopped by the police, who shot dead three students. The city’s mayor has been arrested for allegedly ordering officers to confront the students. Suspected gang members have now confessed to killing the students and claimed that they were handed to them by police, according to Mexican attorney general Jesús Murillo Karam.

Africa needs more ‘quality’ degrees, says economist

Many graduates of African universities find their degrees are “useless”, an economist has warned. Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa, acting chief economist and vice-president of the African Development Bank, said despite expansion in Africa’s higher education sector, at some institutions “quality is usually not thought about”. In comments made at the African Economic Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he urged governments to work with the private sector to invest in infrastructure and facilities to develop “international standard” universities.

Higher education reforms may miss 2016 target

Australia’s higher education reforms may not complete their passage through Parliament in time to be implemented in 2016, education minister Christopher Pyne has admitted. The changes, which include deregulating university fees, cutting the teaching budget by 20 per cent and charging a real interest rate on student loans, are stalled in the Senate while negotiations continue with the minority parties that hold the balance of power. The legislation must pass this year for implementation in 2016.

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