HE News Briefs 13.8.12
By Abby Chau
- BRAZIL: Affirmative action policies approved
- CHILE: Violent student protests demand changes
- USA: Community colleges piloting new employment software
- IVORY COAST: Fee hikes coinciding with opening of universities
- UK: English student applications see a 10% drop
The Brazilian government is on course to approve affirmative action policies with 50% of places reserved for students of indigenous, black, or mixed race descent. The reserved places will be distributed by the racial profile of the region. It has been well documented that, apart from Nigeria, Brazil has a larger population of people with African ancestry than anywhere else. The bill aims to tackle issues of social inequality and mobility.
Violence erupted when thousands of students hit the streets in Chile recently to demonstrate for restructuring higher education. Protests have been going on for a year and some demonstrations like this one, have turned violent with 75 people arrested and the injuries obtained by the police force. Protestors say that a major revamp of the higher education system is needed in order to put things right including fixing poor performing public schools, instilling private school regulations, and offering more affordable loans. The Chilean president has responded to say that a major revamp won’t happen but the government will be offering more scholarship, worth $1 billion and reducing student loan interest rates.
Community Colleges in the US are piloting a new data scraping software which helps career counsellors get real-time data regarding employment trends and patterns. The project Jobs for the Future, is looking at using innovative methods of gathering crucial data to help students find jobs. Traditionally, data utilised to build an employment profile was based on government statistics which can be out of date. The project is still in early stages but it adds to dialogue surrounding student employability.
Côte d’Ivoire’s key universities will reopen in September after months of closure due to repairs and governmental restructuring of the higher education system. Coinciding with the opening is a large fee hike, from CFA6,000 to CFA100,000 for undergraduates, and from CFA100,000 to CFA200,000 for postgraduates. The government says that fees will help pay for infrastructure and the last time fees were raised was in 1980. However many critics are decrying not only the fee increase, but also the decision to close the universities. René Hokou Légré, president of a human rights organisation, says that decision made has been detrimental to education, unemployment, and living standards.
In the UK, the Independent Commission on Fees says that the hike in fees have affected the number of English student applications, which has dropped by 10% since last year. The drop in Scotland and Wales during the same period is 2.9% and 2.1% respectively. Applications from Northern Ireland fell by 4.5%. With the study accounting for a fall in demographics this year, the report suggests that there are approximately 15,000 ‘missing’ applications from young people.