Student news wrap 21/6/18

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News about and for students from home and around the world.

SA medical students in Russia resort to studying from online sources

Medical students from Mpumalanga, who left to study at Astrakhan State Medical University in Russia last year, are having to resort to Youtube, Google and Wikipedia to learn. In a WhatsApp conversation with City Press, the Mpumalanga Students Committee also alleged that their Russian lecturers had only basic English and could not engage with the students; that there was no clinical training and that they had not received testbooks.

“This university started English-medium lectures in 2013. They’re not ready and equipped to teach in English. This looks like a waste of time and we would like to be transferred to another institution,” said one student representative. Another stated that “We get embarrassed because we can’t do practical things that doctors should be able to perform on patients. The university has even said that they can’t prepare us for the HPCSA (Health Professions Council of South Africa) board exam”. To date there has been no reponse from the Mpumalanga education department to questions on what is being done to aid the 53 students.

Russia recently unveiled a plan to attract more foreign students to its 650 state universities. – Read the full story on the City Press site

Technology transfer boost for least developed countries

The United Nations this month launched the Technology Bank, which will work with universities to boost scientific research and development across Africa’s ‘least developed countries’ (LDCs).

“Universities have a dual role to play in the developing countries: not only creating new knowledge, but more importantly to work with the local industries to absorb and make adaptations of the foreign technologies transferred from international sources,” Technology Bank director Xiaolan Fu said.

LDCs make up about 12% of the world’s population and 38 of the 48 countries are African. According to a United Nations study, LDCs had a significant lack of published scientific journals and lagged most other countries on patents and recognisable research. Taking this into consideration, the bank will facilitate access to journal publications in African universities at no cost to help disseminate knowledge among researchers. – Read the full article on the University World News site.

Australian universities ditch “gender-specific” words

Several universities across Australia have chosen to publish guidelines to stamp out discriminatory language on campus and in written assignments.

Perth’s Curtin University is using “inclusive language procedures” that staff and students are required to follow. Deputy vice-chancellor Jill Downie said the policy provided guidance to staff and students to ensure they were speaking and writing in an inclusive manner. “The Student Charter and the Staff Code of Conduct set out the behavioural expectations in relation to students and staff, including a requirement to avoid behaviours which constitute discrimination and harassment,” she said. Students could face losing marks if they use language stereotyping people on their gender. “Housewife” and “mankind” are just two of the words that are discouraged.

Students attending CQUniversity are encouraged to use “humans” as a generic term instead of the more common “man” , as well as “workforce” instead of “manpower” and “artificial” in place of “man-made”. These are part of a list of gender neutral alternatives that were introduced by the University. The University of Wollongong encourages people to avoid patronising expressions such as “the office girls” or colloquialisms such as “darl”, “doll” and “love”.

While the University of Sydney’s Department of Gender and Cultural Studies have published a guide insisting that gender neutral language be used, even if it is grammatically wrong. An example being: “If a student wants their results early, they should go to the student centre.” Although this last sentence is grammatically incorrect, in speech it has become common practice to use the pronoun ‘they’ when referring to a generic person. – Read the full article on the site