Student news wrap 13/06/18

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News about and for students from around the world.

Afghani schoolgirl dies in stampede for university exam form

Fierce competition for university admission saw an Afghani high-school graduate killed in a stampede at a high school on June 3. Zuhra Ali was one of over a thousand women and girls trying to obtain application forms for this year’s Afghan public university entrance exam, known as the Kankor. Officially, no one has taken responsibility for the incident. The national education department has said that forms were issued by the provincial administration, which in turn blamed the national department for only allocating one venue, despite the huge number of applicants. A student who was there when the incident happened told University World News that officials were discriminating against applicants. “The rich ones and those with contacts and power were getting the forms without any hassle while we, the poor girls, were made to wait for hours in a disorganised manner that led to this tragedy,” she said.

This year sees a figure of 300,000 students registered for the entrance exam countrywide but only about half have a chance of succeeding in getting placed as all universities are short on space. While the Afghan government announced it would earmark up to 7,000 seats for women in public sector universities across the country, higher education for women is still confined to a few major urban centres. In addition, UNICEF noted in it’s Afghanistan country report that just one in three girls is currently attending school in the country.  – Read the full article on the University World News site.

Innovative engineers shine at Africa Prize finals

A bloodless malaria test, a smart meter giving consumers more control over energy use, a cheap sustainable method to recover precious metals and an innovative textbook-sized science lab for kids pipped 12 other candidates to the finals of the 2018 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The competition featured candidates from seven sub-Saharan countries including first time finalists from Zimbabwe and Ghana.

“All four of our finalists have found novel ways to address critical challenges in their home countries – in fact, problems that are faced all over the world,” said Africa Prize judge Rebecca Enonchong. “We’re proud to be part of the development of world-class African technologies, and to support emerging African entrepreneurs.”

The finals take place in Nairobi, Kenya on June 13. First prize is £25,000 (R 441,000) with £10,000 awarded to each of the runners up.

The fifth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation is now open. Individuals and small teams living and working in sub-Saharan Africa, and who have an engineering innovation, are invited to enter. Potential entrants can find more information here. The deadline for entries is 23 July 2018. To find out more about these and the other 12 innovations, read the article on the Royal Academy of Engineers site

Russian government plans package to lure Western students  

Russian universities have welcomed new plans to encourage more international students to study in their country. This project to become more internationally competitive will run until 2025 as part of the national “Export of Russian Education” programme.

To be more attractive to foreign students, Russia is rolling out more classes taught in English, building new campuses and upgrading old ones. Foreign students will be able to have their visas fast-tracked and the government will also offer special scholarships to foreigners. Information on the new scholarships will become available later this year, on the education ministry’s website.

According to statistics of the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, in the last academic year 220,000 foreigners studied at Russian universities. The majority of foreign students come to Russia from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Asia. – Read the full article on the University World News site.