World in brief - 24 July 2014

July 24, 2014

United States
Affirmative action gets court’s approval

A US appeals court has upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s use of affirmative action on race in admissions. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled on Fisher v the University of Texas at Austin and found that public universities could continue considering race in admissions. However, it referred the case back to a lower court for more assessment. Judges at the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled, by 2 to 1, in favour of the University of Texas’ use of affirmative action.

European Union
UK has the students less travelled

Almost two European Union students visited the UK on an Erasmus exchange programme for every British student who went abroad, figures show. The UK’s ,182 Erasmus student visitors in 2012-13 made it the fourth most popular destination in the EU, just behind Spain, Germany and France, the European Commission announced this month. But only 14,572 Britons received an EU grant to study or train abroad. A total of 0,000 students made use of the scheme across the EU.

Protests lead to expulsions

About 90 students involved in protests against Egypt’s military-backed regime have been expelled from Cairo University in the past academic year, according to local media reports. Cairo accused the individuals of violence and vandalism, something denied by Students against the Coup, a group that has organised campus protests against the army’s removal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi as president last year. There have been several violent incidents at various student demonstrations against Mr Morsi’s ousting.

Benchmarks for everyone

Peru’s congress has passed a law designed to raise standards in universities. It requires all higher education institutions to be evaluated, and those failing will be given a deadline to improve. Any new universities will have to meet standards thresholds to be licensed. Lecturers will be required to hold at least a master’s degree. A National Superintendency of Higher Education will be created to replace other national bodies representing institutions, according to reports.

Degree results: it’s a first

The South University of Science and Technology of China, the nation’s “first autonomous university”, has issued diplomas to two graduates “marking an achievement in the country’s higher education reform”. Its first graduations were described as a landmark by the Xinhua state news agency. “In China, diplomas are issued by the Ministry of Education. Shenzhen’s SUSTC is…a pioneer of…higher education reform by building China’s first professor-led and bureaucracy-free university and issuing its own diplomas,” it added.

Please vet for viability

Australian institutions seeking grants from a medical research funder have been asked to screen proposals carefully after figures showed that even Group of Eight universities typically have success rates of less than 20 per cent. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, the University of Adelaide’s success rate was just 13.4 per cent. The research council hopes to encourage research managers to strengthen weak applications or shelve them. A similar emphasis in the UK has raised success rates in recent years.

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