World in brief – 9 July 2015

Higher education news from around the globe

July 9, 2015
Basketball on white background
Source: iStock


Euro hoop dreams end in Turkish delight

A Turkish university has been crowned men’s basketball champions of Europe. Istanbul’s Fatih University, which represented Turkey in the 13th European Universities Basketball Championship, held in Koper, Slovenia, beat Serbia’s University of Niš in the men’s final by 73 to 66 on 27 June. In the women’s final, Croatia’s University of Zagreb defeated Poland’s University of Warsaw by 57 to 48.

United States

Affirmative action faces court judgment

The US Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider the use of race in undergraduate admissions by the University of Texas at Austin, a move that could limit or ban affirmative action in colleges nationwide. Justices said they would return to the case of Abigail Fisher, a white student from Texas denied admission by the university in 2008 under its race-conscious admissions policy. Some universities have expressed fears that any ruling against such practices would mean they would have to resort to more difficult and expensive methods to ensure student diversity.


Engaged digitally? Go Blighty

A survey of young Ukrainians has revealed that 12 per cent of them plan to study abroad – and that the UK is their destination of choice. Carried out by market research agency GFK for the British Council, Hopes, Fears and Dreams: The Views of Ukraine’s Next Generation sampled 1,200 “digitally engaged” people aged 16-35. When asked where they would like to study, the UK appealed to 43 per cent, ahead of the US (38 per cent), Germany (33 per cent) and Poland (26 per cent). The report urges UK policymakers to look at “scholarships and other mobility opportunities” to tap this potential market.


Antisocial media

China’s two most prestigious universities, Tsinghua University and Peking University, have become embroiled in a public spat on social media. “It started when Peking University’s recruitment team in Sichuan province took to Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblogging site, accusing Tsinghua’s recruiters of ‘luring students to Tsinghua with money,’” reported the website of state broadcaster CCTV. “Tsinghua’s Sichuan recruiter responded by…claiming that PKU was the one that was attempting to ‘buy’ students with money,” it added. CCTV’s report continued: “The mud-slinging was quickly circulated and drew thousands of comments, climbing to the Chinese web’s top trending topics.”

South Africa

Bones alone

Fossils of a previously unknown dinosaur have been found in a storeroom at a South African university. The bones of the newly named Sefapanosaurus zastronensis, estimated to be 200 million years old, had been in the University of the Witwatersrand’s possession since the 1930s. They had been thought to be the remains of another dinosaur, Aardonyx, until two palaeontologists noticed they did not match. The announcement was made by researchers from Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town, alongside colleagues from two Argentinian institutions.


Teach to the test? Pass the test first

From 2016, Australia’s prospective teachers will have to pass a national literacy and numeracy test before they can graduate. The recommendation was among 38 on teacher education made this year by a government-commissioned review chaired by Greg Craven, vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University. It found “significant pockets of objectively poor practice”. Canberra has now pledged to implement most of the recommendations.

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