World watch

19 February 2007

THE ACADEMIC and political community in KwaZulu-Natal is mourning the death of Professor Charles Dlamini SC, the former University of Zululand rector and vice-chancellor, and education department head.

SOUTH AFRICA plans to attract expatriate academics to share their skills in short exchange programmes and research projects, as an alternative to moving back to South Africa. "We need to look at repatriation in a flexible and pragmatic way," said Minister of Education Naledi Pandor.

NO LESS than 36 Free State schools obtained matric pass rates of less than 50% in 2006, says Free State education MEC Ouma Tsopo. She added that the department will not allow the promotion of 23 000 learners who failed Grade 11 last year.

THE US government should allow the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to grow marijuana for medical research, an administrative judge ruled in a nonbinding decision. Such a move would end a monopoly on cultivation held by the University of Mississippi.

THE RUSSIAN Parliament approved a controversial bill in February that is intended to make university admissions fairer and less corrupt. The bill requires that the Unified State Examination, a standardised test that is similar to the SAT in the US, be used nationwide by 2009.

SAUDI ARABIA'S minister of higher education, Khaled Al-Anqari, announced this month a government plan to open 11 new universities in the next three years. The universities, which will be located throughout the kingdom, will focus on applied sciences, offering training in skills the current job market requires.

IN JANUARY Aramark, the Philadelphia-based food-service corporation, announced it would cut the fat from the frying oil at the cafeterias it operates on 400 college campuses. This came after Starbucks and KFC in the US removed trans fats from some of their products.

AN INTERNATIONAL group of scientists, ethicists, and legal experts have agreed upon a set of guidelines for experimenting with human embryonic stem cells. To encourage worldwide compliance, the committee has also called upon agencies that pay for research and journal editors to require investigators to adhere to the rules as a stipulation for receiving grants or publishing their work.

Sources: Independent Online,,, Chronicle of Higher Education online.

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