17 June 2003
The University of Namibia (Unam) has booted three students off the Students Representative Council (SRC) after they were found guilty of mismanagement. SRC Vice President Abraham Kalipi, Secretary General Ndeshi Muashindange and Secretary for Finance Kondjeni Ntinda were charged with using a Unam vehicle on an unauthorised trip to the North, bringing the name of the institution into disrepute through their actions on the trip, and having engaged in unauthorised activities. While the trio will remain at Unam as students they will, however, lose their privileges as SRC members such as special rooms, rebates and blazers.

A joint research programme to find a lasting solution to the frequent floods in the Nyando and Budakangi areas in Kenya has been undertaken by Moi University and the Netherlands University of Amsterdam. The two universities will also carry out research on the impact of floods on the environment and how to involve locals and other government bodies in its management. The Moi University Vice-Chancellor Professor David Some and the Amsterdam University co-ordinator said the research's aim was the construction of long lasting dykes to help in the draining of flood-waters. Once complete the research reports will be handed over to the relevant Government bodies for implementation.

Not convinced by some of the "alarmist" reports produced by research agencies and non-governmental organisations on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among teachers, Education Minister Kader Asmal has asked the Human Sciences Research Council to conduct a study for the department. Asmal said the purpose of this study would be to determine, in a scientific manner, the exact prevalence of the disease among teachers, which would help the department better understand the likely impact on the profession. Asmal said, "This is only part of a bigger study on teacher supply and demand, since many other factors impact upon this besides HIV/AIDS, and a macro planning model is being developed."

If a report on the financing and cost of education is approved by cabinet, 40% of the poorest children in South Africa could be exempted from paying school fees. A means test would be used to determine who is excluded from paying fees, but anybody who receives a child care grant would automatically be excluded. The poorest 40% of pupils would receive an identical amount, which would cover all school requirements, including learning materials, no matter where they attended school. Describing this as the "most important pro-poor policy", Education Minister Kader Asmal said more details would be released after the cabinet was briefed on the recommendations and implications.

Robert Dynes has been selected as the University of California's next president of the university's nine-campus system. Dynes, who has led the San Diego campus for seven years, will take over as head of the university system after the current president, Richard Atkinson, retires in October. Dynes (60) is a physicist and an expert on semiconductors and superconductors who entered academe after more than two decades of working in research positions at AT&T Bell Laboratories. He has been at San Diego since 1991, where he started out as a physics professor, then served as chairman of the physics department and senior vice-chancellor for academic affairs before being named chancellor in 1996.

A day before Citrus College was to appear in court last week to defend its speech code against a student's claim that it violated his First Amendments rights, the Californian community college repealed its code, ending the litigation. The decision signalled the first victory for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in its new campaign to do away with such codes at public universities. 20 year-old Citrus College student, Christopher Stevens, teamed up with FIRE for legal support after he said the college refused to let him conduct a "pro-American rally" outside designated free-speech zones unless he did so as part of a registered club. FIRE is a non-profit foundation devoted to free speech on college campuses.

Sources:, Independent Online, Chronicle of Higher Education

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