World in brief - 14 August 2014

August 14, 2014

Reforms target jobs and business links

Polish minister of science and higher education, Lena Kolarska-Bobinska, has announced a major revision to higher education legislation with the aim of promoting science, combating youth unemployment and facilitating cooperation between universities and business. There will now be a division, she told the Polish Press Agency, between “research universities that develop science” and “those that will have a more practical, vocational profile” – with the latter required to offer obligatory three-month internships for students. After going before Poland’s president for signature, the amendment is expected to come into force on 1 October.

Islamic State destroys faculties, say local reports

The Islamic State extremist group has reportedly destroyed the contents of the faculties of law, arts, management, economy and education at Mosul University, and ordered the segregation of male and female students. Local media quoted an officer for the university, who said that the jihadist group, which has captured territory in Syria and northern Iraq, had deemed the disciplines contrary to Sharia.

Pact with France extended

Academic links between French and Iranian universities are to be strengthened, a senior Iranian official has said. Under the Gundeshapur agreement signed in April, the two countries will jointly fund some 30 projects involving collaborative research between French and Iranian academics, in science, engineering, culture and other subjects. Hossein Salar Amoli, Iran’s deputy science minister in international affairs, has now announced that the scheme will gain extra support from Iran over the next academic year.

Three-way friendship with benefits

Cooperation and mobility between three leading Latin American universities has been cemented in an official agreement. The move paves the way for students and staff to move between the University of Buenos Aires, the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the University of São Paulo. The leaders of the three institutions signed the pact at a conference sponsored by the Santander banking group that brought together more than 1,000 university leaders in Rio de Janeiro in late July.

Minister mandates ombudsmen for private and public institutions

All universities in India, including private institutions, must appoint ombudsmen to deal with student grievances, India’s minister for higher education has said. Smriti Irani, cabinet minister for human resource development, told the country’s Parliament that the University Grants Committee had passed a rule to that effect, following concerns expressed in a recent Supreme Court case about academic standards at some private institutions.

University’s not for all, says business leader

Too many young Australians go to university, the new president of the Business Council of Australia has said. In her first major speech, Catherine Livingstone said that some students would do better to pursue vocational education instead – at least initially. Australian undergraduate numbers have shot up since number controls began to be lifted in 2009. Ms Livingstone said that if, as planned, fees were also deregulated, the “price signal” would encourage students to weigh up the benefits of different types of post-secondary education.

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