World in brief – 14 May 2015

May 14, 2015

Smaller slice of sector’s revenue pie goes on salaries

The share of Canadian universities’ spending allocated to academics’ salaries fell between 2000 and 2013, challenging the argument that wages have helped drive up expenditure and tuition fees. According to the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ Education Review, escalating fees “dramatically increased” the cost of a university education over the period. However, although university revenues hit a record high of C$33.2 billion (£18.2 billion) in 2012-13, the outlay for academic salaries has declined from 21.3 per cent of spending to 20.4 per cent since 2000.

Places to grow

Nurseries are being set up in 43 Polish higher education institutions, about one in 10 of the total number. The “baby at university” initiative – part of a wider “friendly university” project – aims to improve the work-life balance of staff and students. Initial results and a list of the universities receiving funds were announced last month by Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, minister of science and higher education, and her counterpart at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The government will now provide Zl9 million (£1.65 million) for nurseries and clubs, funding places to more than 1,400 children under three.

Hong Kong
Students with attitude

The president of Lingnan University’s students’ union was condemned by the institution’s president after a union-organised concert featured a song deemed to have insulted police. Tensions are high in Hong Kong’s universities because students played a key role in last year’s pro-democracy Occupy Central protests. The performance at Lingnan, part of a “Concert of Resistance in the Dark Times”, reportedly contained the lyrics “fuck the police”. The university’s president, Leonard Cheng Kwok-hon, told the union’s president, Philip Lau Chun-lam, that he could be expelled if he “damages the university’s reputation” again.

Bless this campus

A Chicago-based university is to invest €115 million (£84 million) in a new campus in Malta. De Paul University, the largest Catholic university in the US, will cater for about 4,000 mainly international students on a 90,000 sq m campus in Marsascala on the southern tip of Malta. The site for the university, which will welcome its first students in 2016, has been provided by the Maltese government for the Jordan-based Sadeen Group, which is funding the project, according to an agreement announced on 1 May.

Lecture is over – please remain seated

A university told its students to stop “spreading rumours” after they complained online about being made to remain in classes for a full two hours even if a lecturer had finished early. Students at Dubai’s Higher Colleges of Technology took to Twitter to protest against not being allowed to leave when a lecture wrapped up before the official finish time. According to Gulf News, the university responded by stating that it was simply implementing existing rules. The institution told students: “As the end of the second semester approaches, we ask you to please focus on your studies instead of spreading rumours.”

Professor shot in ‘targeted killing’

A Pakistani academic was shot dead in Karachi “in what officials suspected was a targeted killing”. Waheed ur Rehman, an assistant professor of mass communication at the state University of Karachi, was killed when four attackers on two motorbikes intercepted his car in a busy neighbourhood and sprayed it with bullets, The New York Times reported.

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