Student news wrap 09/05/18

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News from around the world.

French students fight to keep free access to universities

French universities have been disrupted during exams amid student protests against planned reforms to the education system. With a high school exam pass rate of almost 80 percent and tuition paid almost entirely by the state for all those that finish school, French universities are badly overstretched. To reduce the pressure, President Emmanuel Macron wants to allow universities to set admissions criteria for oversubscribed courses.  Four campuses have been almost completely shut down for weeks, while faculty buildings up and down France are under “occupation”. But the protesters are far from a majority. Many students are frustrated at the revolutionary zeal of their classmates, not least because it is playing havoc with exam schedules. – Read more at The Local.

China attracts nearly half a million international students

Almost half a million foreign students are studying on the Chinese mainland, according to the latest official figures released last week. At 489,200, the number of foreign tertiary and secondary students still lags the number of Chinese students studying abroad, which rose to just over 600,000 last year. The latest increase, which has been boosted by government bursaries offered to foreign students, puts China well on track for it’s target of 500,000 foreign students by 2020. The drive to attract foreigners is part of the country’s goal of transitioning from a manufacturing hub to an innovation hub. – Read more at University World News.

Open university model touted as ‘the future’ for Africa

West Africa’s first private open university is due to produce it’s first graduates this year. Ghana’s Laweh Open University College opened in 2015 and it’s deputy vice-chancellor believes the open education model is the solution to Africa’s challenge of increasing access to higher education with limited resources. “Times have changed and perceptions have changed. We have no choice but to accept open universities as the future,” deputy vice-chancellor Josiah Cobbah told University World News. “Society has an obligation to provide education to the teeming masses and there is no other way to go in view of the dwindling resources available.” – Read more at University World News.

US college’s outdoor club survives, told to stay indoors

Penn State is receiving deserved worldwide scorn for its bungled decision to shut down the student-run Penn State Outing Club after 98 years because letting young adults hike, backpack, paddle and climb presented an “unacceptable safety risk.” This, mind you, on outings where each member had to sign a liability waiver and at least one trip member was certified in first aid, not to mention the reams of detailed paperwork required on where the group would be each step of the way. The outing club since has negotiated with the university to be recognized as a special interest student organization, heading off being completely disbanded, but the club can’t take any trips outdoors.

The Nittany Grotto Caving Club and the Nittany Divers SCUBA Club have also been shut down. – Read the full story on the Lancaster Online site.