World in brief – 16 April 2015

April 16, 2015

United States
Computer said yes, but it shouldn’t have

Texas State University has become the latest US institution to send acceptance letters to hundreds of applicants in error. About 450 students received “acceptance brochures” last month, only to be told subsequently that they should not have been sent, the Austin American-Statesman newspaper reported. In December last year, Johns Hopkins University erroneously sent 294 applicants a welcome message, and earlier this year, Carnegie Mellon University mistakenly “accepted” about 800 computer science applicants who had in fact been rejected.

Norway
First foreign head revealed

A US scholar is to become the first foreign academic to lead a Norwegian higher education institution. In August, Curt Rice, a professor in the department of languages and linguistics at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, will become the president of Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway’s largest university college. Professor Rice, who is known for his work in gender equality and diversity in science, will be the first non-Norwegian head of an institution in the country, according to his alma mater, Augsburg College, Minnesota, which announced the appointment.

United Arab Emirates
Three universities placed on probation

Admissions to three universities in the United Arab Emirates have been suspended because of concerns over educational standards. The institutions are the University of Jazeera, Al Dar University College and the Emirates College for Management and Information Technology. All three have been placed “under probation”, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research said. Existing students are unaffected. Such suspensions are usually related to issues such as insufficient numbers of qualified faculty members, assessment standards and the “quality and seriousness” of courses, the ministry added.

Mexico
Police attack student bus

Video footage posted online shows police throwing rocks at a bus carrying students from a Mexican teacher-training college that made headlines last year when 43 of its students were kidnapped. Police stopped a bus from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa near the town of Chilpancingo on 28 March. The video, posted on YouTube by the Guerrero News Agency, shows police throwing rocks, breaking the bus windows. Reports suggest that the bus failed to stop at a checkpoint. Last year, 43 students from the college disappeared after being confronted by police following a protest, and in January were officially declared dead.

Republic of Ireland
HE roles clarified in memorandum

The Republic of Ireland’s funding and quality bodies have agreed a new memorandum of understanding designed to clarify their roles. The document says the Higher Education Authority and Quality and Qualifications Ireland will support “the enhancement of the performance and quality of Irish higher education while upholding the principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy”. Based on four key commitments (including Ireland in an international context), the document sets out a range of actions for the period 2015-17 and reiterates the HEA’s responsibility for “the structural reform, and the reform of the funding and governance of higher education”.

Australia
Sydney faces claims places were ‘bought’

Students from an elite boys’ school were admitted to the University of Sydney without sitting the country’s Higher School Certificate. The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Scots College in Sydney was the sole participant in a pilot scheme aimed at mature students and guaranteeing entry to those who complete a 17-week diploma that costs A$12,000 (£6,177). In response to claims that the boys’ entry had been “bought”, a Sydney spokesman described the scheme as “an honest attempt to widen access”.

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