international

British College Reverses Ban on Niqab

Birmingham Metropolitan College has reversed its ban on students wearing the niqab, a veil worn by some Muslim women that covers the face save for the eyes, The Telegraph reported. The college, which also prohibits the wearing of caps, hats and hoodies, had banned the full-face veils for safety reasons, saying it was important for individuals to be readily identifiable whenever they’re on campus. However, students protested that they were being discriminated against based on their religion. The college reversed the ban after more than 8,000 people signed a petition within 48 hours and right before a demonstration was planned on campus, saying it would modify its policies “to allow individuals to wear specific items of personal clothing to reflect their cultural values.”
 
"The college will still need to be able to confirm an individual's identity in order to maintain safeguarding and security.”
 
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Report compares governance and management of universities in the Middle East and North Africa

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World Bank project looks at how universities in the region are being managed, but tries not to suggest adoption of any one model.

Proposal to Allow Foreign Campuses in India Advances

India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development announced on Tuesday that it is advancing a proposal to permit foreign universities to open campuses under the Companies Act. The ministry's proposal to allow foreign universities to register as companies appears to represent an attempt to bypass Parliamentary approval of the long-stalled foreign universities bill, which faces stiff political opposition. 

Under the proposed rules, foreign institutions wishing to set up campuses would have to be non-profit, accredited, and listed among the top 400 institutions in one of three major world university rankings. Each institution would have to maintain a corpus fund of at least 250,000,000 rupees, or almost $4 million.

At this point, Kevin Kinser, chair of the educational administration and policy studies department at the State University of New York at Albany, is skeptical that the proposal will become policy. “We’ve been down this road before,” said Kinser, who studies branch campuses. "There are announcements they are going to develop these policies to allow foreign universities to enter, but we haven’t really seen it come to fruition. I’m not going to be out there buying land or negotiating arrangements until something more concrete comes forward.”  

“There are a lot of political interests involved in this,” Kinser added, “and it’s not entirely clear where the actual support comes from for moving in this direction, and whether that support has the political ability to withstand the resistance.”

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Offshore Med Students Rack Up Federal Debt

Students at two Caribbean medical schools operated by DeVry, a for-profit education company, are amassing federal student loan debt -- $310 million in the year ending June 2012 -- despite the fact that the institutions are not accredited by the agency that accredits medical schools in the U.S., according to an article in Bloomberg. The article focuses on medical programs at American University of the Caribbean and Ross University, which enroll hundreds of students rejected by U.S. medical schools and which have higher debt and attrition rates and lower residency placement rates than American medical schools. The article also looks at DVry’s “pay-for-play” system in which it pays U.S. hospitals to provide its students with clinical training in their third and fourth years, with one result being the loss of clinical training spots for students enrolled at U.S. medical schools.

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British College Bans Full-Face Veil

Birmingham Metropolitan College is being accused of discrimination against Muslim students for prohibiting students, employees and visitors from wearing garments that obscure the face, including the niqab, a veil worn by some Muslim women that covers the face save for the eyes, The Telegraph reported.  Officials at the college said that caps, hats and hoodies are also prohibited and that there is a need for individuals on campus to be easily identifiable in order to keep students safe. 

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In Spain, Not All Students Favor 'Adopt a Student'

Spain's university students increasingly face higher fees at the same time as their institutions cut budgets. Seeking to help, some deans have talked about creating an "adopt a student" program in which civic minded individuals would "adopt a student" and pay for his or her tuition, The Local reported. Some students like the idea. But others are opposed. Ana García, secretary general of Spain's Union of Students, said that such a program would make higher education "a form of charity rather than a right."

 

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'Where Student Fees Go' in England

A report released today by Universities UK attempts to answer the question of where student fees are going, chronicling investments in financial aid, infrastructure, teaching, student services and career placement. The funding model for England’s universities has shifted drastically in recent years; public funding has fallen and been replaced by tuition fees, which were first introduced in 1997 and are now capped at £9,000 (about $14,150) for domestic students. Under the new funding regime, some universities have seen net reductions in their income and others net increases.  

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Second Canadian University Investigates Pro-Rape Chant

The University of British Columbia is the second Canadian university in a week to be investigating the use of a chant seen as encouraging rape and underage sex, CTV News reported. Last week, officials at Saint Mary's University, in Halifax, responded with outrage to a sexist chant on video, with orientation leaders involved. Now, UBC is investigating with a similar chant is used during orientation at its business school. The chant: “Y-O-U-N-G at UBC we like ‘em young, Y is for your sister, O is for oh so tight, U is for under age, N is for no consent, G is for go to jail."

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U. of London Drops Plan to Sell Early Folios of Shakespeare

The University of London has abandoned a plan to auction off an early set of Shakespeare, The Guardian reported. The university has been defending the plan, noting that it needs more money to preserve and grow its collection of historic documents, and that it has other early editions of Shakespeare. But criticism from academics has been intense, and was cited by university leaders in calling off the plan. "The university has decided to focus its attention on examining alternative ways of investing in the collection. The money raised from any sale would have been used to invest in the future of the library by acquiring major works and archives of English literature," said Adrian Smith, the vice chancellor.

 

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British Council report assesses landscape for cross-border educaton

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A new report from the British Council analyzes the landscape for cross-border education and identifies countries with the most and least favorable climates.

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