World in brief - 25 September 2014

September 25, 2014

Encouragement to study abroad

More Canadian students should be spending time studying in a foreign country, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education. In a submission to the Canadian House of Commons Finance Committee, the non-profit membership organisation, which counts more than 150 education providers among its members, challenged the government to offer student funding to tackle what it calls “Canada’s global engagement challenge”. “While more than 260,000 international students chose to study in Canada in 2012, only about 45,000 Canadians travelled to attend school in another country,” the organisation said.

Minister accused of plagiarism

Sanja Vlahovic, Montenegro’s science minister, has been accused of plagiarism. The claims, as reported by Retraction Watch, were made in the national newspaper Vijesti. A paper she had presented at a tourism and hospitality management conference in Croatia, it was alleged, was largely taken from earlier publications by other academics. Another paper, said to have been published in the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management – which the minister used to support her election to a professorship at the private Mediterranean University – was not known by the journal. Responding in the Pobjeda newspaper, Professor Vlahovic stated that the missing paper had been published elsewhere.

Administrative staff crisis

Many Greek universities are in chaos after hundreds of administrative staff were laid off because of budget cuts, rectors have claimed. Theodore Fortsakis, rector of the University of Athens, said his institution “cannot perform even the minimum of its duties” as it had “no security guards, no administrative employees, no funds”, the Greek Reporter news agency said. He is one of five rectors to speak out about the impact of austerity. Athanasios Karambinis, who leads Democritus University of Thrace, said the suspension of 180 of his 240 administrative staff had caused major difficulties.

Two institutions to provide Moocs under Coursera

Two Brazilian universities have become the first Latin American institutions to join Mooc provider Coursera. Under the new agreement, the University of São Paulo and the State University of Campinas will produce courses for Brazilian learners on a variety of subjects including entrepreneurship and finance. A collaboration with the Lemann Foundation, a non-profit organisation that campaigns for social change, will also create professional development courses for teachers and allow the translation of 18 existing Moocs.

Students object to reform bill

Student opposition is growing over an education reform bill in Burma. The University Students Union has announced that it is opposed to the National Education Bill, which critics say will grant too much centralised power over universities to the government, still dominated by military figures despite the restarting of elections. The students are also concerned that the bill places restrictions on the formation of students’ unions. Burma’s universities were closed for two years after students led anti-government protests in 1988.

Costs high Down Under

Australia has been ranked the most expensive country for international students. A report for HSBC Bank surveyed more than 4,500 parents in 15 countries. The study puts the total cost of international study in Australia, including fees and cost of living, at US$42,000 (£25,600) a year compared with $36,000 in the US. “The cost of education in Australia is also disproportionately higher than the perceived quality of the education on offer,” HSBC says in the report.

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