Student news wrap 28/8/18

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News from around the world.

Suspect arrested in Morrocan ‘Masters-for-money’ scandal

An investigation has been launched in the wake of allegations that students could pay to guarantee a place on a Masters law degree at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Morocco. 35 students had already entered the masters programme by paying the requested bribe of 40 000 dirhams (R60,332).

A recorded telephone call between a student wishing to obtain the degree and a “mediator” for one of the university staff, was released on social media earlier this month. During the conversation the student was promised guaranteed selection into the course and “success in written and oral examinations”. On August 19, Moroccan security services arrested the broker.

Professor Abdullah Harisi, who is the coordinator of the Masters course, was suspended over his alleged failure to investigate allegations of impropriety. National Union of Moroccan Students president Mohamed Bensassi said: “This scandal is a manifestation of corruption in our universities where bribery, zealotry, nepotism and sometimes sexual extortion have become a basic rule in access to the Masters and Doctorate.” – Read the story on the University World News site.

Indian universities directed to ban junk food.

This month saw a notice from the Indian University Grants Commission (UGC) directing vice-chancellors of universities to ban junk food on their campuses. The directive has been in the pipeline since 2016. The UGC stated that banning junk food in colleges would set new standards for healthy food habits, and reduce obesity levels as well as instilling a sense of healthy eating. UGC secretary Rajnish Jain noted that although the directive wasn’t compulsory, colleges were expected to comply with the guidelines and help create awareness regarding the ill effects of junk food and the impact of its consumption. – Read the article on the ANI news site

Canadian universities ‘ready to roll’ with cannabis legalisation

Recreational cannabis use becomes legal on October 17 in Canada and a New Brunswick university said it was prepared to roll with it. Scott Duguay, associate vice-president of enrolment management at St. Thomas University, said he was unsure what type of reaction to expect, but he did not expect things to go up in a blaze of smoke.

“Welcome Week is already looking a little different,” Duguay admitted. “We usually do presentations on alcohol harms, for example. Now we have slides on the whole cannabis idea”. He went on to say that making sure that students are educated about the rules and regulations is important, as is knowledge on how indulging in cannabis will effect their studies. There will be no smoking or growing of pot in residence, although students are allowed to possess it. Students will also not be allowed to smoke it on campus property. New Brunswick is well ahead of the pack, having it’s first retail storefront up and running already. – You can read the article on the CBC news site.