World in brief - 17 July 2014

July 17, 2014

Source: Alamy

United States
Universities found wanting in sexual assault prevention

One in five US universities fails to train employees to deal with victims of sexual assault, says a report by the US Senate Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight. In addition, about a third (31 per cent) of colleges do not educate students on preventing such assaults, according to the findings of the study, which surveyed 440 public and private institutions. Federal law requires institutions that know or reasonably should have known about an incident of sexual violence to investigate, but more than 40 per cent had not made a single investigation in the past five years, the Sexual Violence on Campus report reveals.

Minister plans to double foreign student ranks by 2020

Latvia’s minister of education and science plans to raise the proportion of foreign students in the country’s universities to 10 per cent by 2020. At a meeting of the Foreign Economic Policy Coordination Council earlier this month, Ina Druviete said that numbers had more than doubled over the past four years and now stood at nearly 5 per cent of the total student cohort. While she was keen to preserve the flow of students from India and the rest of the former Soviet bloc, she also identified untapped potential in countries such as Egypt and Brazil.

Fudan system is ripe for rottenness, says watchdog

China’s anti-corruption watchdog has criticised one of the country’s leading universities. Inspection teams found that Fudan University in Shanghai, a member of the C9 group of elite institutions, had lax oversight of research funds and business and academic units, according to a statement issued last week by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s chief disciplinary body. “The systems of oversight are not robust,” the watchdog said, and there are “complicated power structures”, all of which contributes to “a ripe environment for corruption”.

PhD claims sink rector

The rector of Serbia’s largest private university has been forced to resign after failing to provide proof that he holds a PhD from a UK institution. Mića Jovanović, who owns Belgrade’s Megatrend University, faced misconduct allegations after claiming that one of his two doctorates came from “London University” or “the University in London”. He sought to prove his innocence with a photo of a dissertation, whose title page appears to be on London School of Economics headed paper. Although both the LSE and the University of London confirmed that they have not awarded him a doctorate, Mr Jovanović has insisted that he did not lie and will travel to London to retrieve the thesis, which he says has been mislaid.

Call for tuition fees at public institutions

A conference of Nigerian higher education leaders has heard calls for tuition fees to be introduced at federally funded universities to ensure adequate funding of the country’s academy. At a meeting of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities earlier this month, Andrew Efemini of the University of Port Harcourt said that “competitive” tuition fees, a bank to fund education and more philanthropic support were all needed to raise the quality of universities. Students at federally funded institutions pay service charges but not tuition fees.

New Zealand
Record high for degree completions

A record number of students graduated from New Zealand universities in 2013. According to official data, 25,800 domestic students completed undergraduate degrees last year, a rise of 1.6 per cent since 2012 and 24 per cent since 2008. The total number of qualifications achieved in 2013 by all students, including ones from overseas, reached a historic high of 162,000, an increase of 20 per cent on 2008. The number of Maori and Pasifika (Pacific Islander) students completing degrees has grown by 56 per cent since 2008.

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