Many Chinese universities fear a decline in student physical fitness, Xinhua reported. More than 30 universities have called off traditional long-distance races because they fear that there are not students fit enough to compete. While students at many universities must pass a physical education test to graduate, they ignore fitness and sometimes beg their instructors to pass them.
President Obama plans to speak at Yangon University Monday, during a trip to Myanmar. The New York Times reported that the visit is leading to a major effort to repair the facilities at the university, which suffered damage and disrepair (not to mention repression) during years of military rule. While the university is being spruced up, the article suggested that there is only so much that can be done in a few days, and that Obama will see "something of a Potemkin campus."
The University of Waterloo will close its campus in Dubai because of inadequate enrollment and an inability to form partnerships for research, The Record of Waterloo reported. Waterloo opened its campus in the United Arab Emirates three years ago, with ambitions to enroll 500 students by this fall. But a statement from the university Tuesday said that the 80 students enrolled on the Dubai campus could finish their educations on the university's home campus in Ontario.
A former dean at St. John’s University accused of stealing more than $1 million from the institution and forcing international students to perform personal chores as a condition of their scholarships was found dead on Tuesday; police are investigating her death as a suicide, The New York Timesreported. Cecilia Chang was midway through her trial at the federal court in Brooklyn, where she took the stand on Monday. As St. John’s vice president for international relations and dean of the Institute of Asian Studies, Chang allegedly charged hundreds of thousands of dollars of personal expenses to a university credit card, and forced international students to clean her house and hand-wash her underwear, among other chores. Chang faced up to 20 years in prison.
Advocates of international education are ringing alarm bells about a €90 million shortfall in the Erasmus budget. Erasmus, a European Union program, provides grants for students to study or work outside their home countries in one of 33 participating nations (the 27 member states of the European Union, plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey). More than 231,000 students received grants in 2010-11, with the average award being a modest €250 a month. The most popular destinations were Spain, France and Germany. (Note: This article has been updated to reflect the term of the award.)
European Commission officials warn that unless something changes, its debts to national agencies in the participating countries – which distribute the money to colleges and students -- will have to be paid out of next year’s budget. This means that either fewer students will be supported or smaller grants will be given. The €90 million shortfall is out of a total budget of €450 million.
“What we’re hoping is that before the end of the year, the 27 member states, and the European Parliament, will agree to make up the shortfall,” said Dennis Abbott, a European Commission spokesman for education. “We know it’s a very, very tough world out there and that many countries are having to cut back, but we just feel that they shouldn’t be cutting back on education and they shouldn’t be cutting back where commitments have been made.”
India has a new minister in charge of higher education. M M Pallam Raju assumed control of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development on Wednesday. The former minister Kapil Sibal -- who remains in control of the telecommunications ministry -- is well-known internationally as an advocate for opening India to foreign universities. A bill that would regulate foreign branch campuses has been stalled in India’s Parliament for more than two years.