World news

Cambridge University assigns white academic to look at slavery links | Education

The equal rights campaigner and former Labour politician Trevor Phillips has criticised the University of Cambridge’s “bizarre” decision to appoint a white academic as head of a study into the institution’s historical links with slavery. Prof Martin Millett of Fitzwilliam College is to oversee the two-year research project, which will investigate ways in which the university “contributed to or benefited from the Atlantic slave trade and other forms of coerced labour during the colonial era” in an effort to “acknowledge…

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Students try to flee UK by chartered plane for ‘safer’ China | Education

A group of Chinese students who tried to charter a plane home are among thousands attempting to leave the UK because they believe they will be safer in China, universities say. With many international students left behind on deserted campuses – now mostly running a skeleton service – academics have been pitching in to call students and reassure them they aren’t alone. But universities report that Chinese students, who make up a third of non-European international students in the UK,…

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‘I’m full of dread’: Doctors, nurses and cleaners on risking their lives for their job | World news

The accident and emergency doctor Gus Khan, Greater LondonI have been treating coronavirus patients for the past month. A few weeks ago, when we were seeing the odd patient who had come back from China or Italy, we were being very cautious. We put on aprons and gowns and took all the right precautions. Then all of a sudden that stopped. We have been given flimsy aprons and were told surgical masks were OK rather than the N95 masks we…

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Covid-19 reveals the alarming truth that many children can’t wash their hands at school | Laura McInerney | Education

Global crises often bring surprises for schools. The first world war flagged up the high number of young soldiers who couldn’t read or write. In the second world war, middle-class country families despaired when evacuated children showed up malnourished and riven with lice. In the aftermath of both, politicians determined to make life better: focusing schools more on literacy and introducing daily milk and school nurses. Pandemics, like wars, temporarily change our way of life. Change happens fast. Schools may…

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Universities having to adapt fast to the coronavirus crisis | Education

UK universities are racing to ensure that the coronavirus does not prevent final-year students from completing their degrees. But experts say a sudden shift to online learning is a “huge challenge” for both institutions and students. All universities have been treating the coronavirus as a major emergency for some weeks. Last week the London School of Economics, University College London, Durham University, Manchester Metropolitan and Loughborough became the first to close down class teaching and move online. Oxford University’s term…

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After just half a day of home-schooling, I am officially in awe of all teachers | Emma Brockes | Opinion

We are doing a writing exercise at the kitchen table, about 90 minutes into home-schooling. So far, it’s gone quite well. I’ve drawn a grid with alphabetised headers and I’m dictating words for my five-year-old to write down. There was a brief dispute about which pen to use – she picked up a permanent marker, then wouldn’t accept, in spite of my reasoning, that it was 100% the wrong pen – but now we’re on track. I’ve totally got this,…

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I’m a teacher in Italian quarantine, and e-learning is no substitute for the real thing | Lizzie Winter | Opinion

The past week has seen drastic changes all over the world, in particular, Italy. This began last week with a lockdown in northern Italy, the closure of schools and universities across the country, and now a complete lockdown across the whole nation. My life as a primary school teacher here in Tuscany has changed radically. I have been working at a private international school for two years, and what once involved me walking to school, interacting with colleagues and teaching…

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Pino Chirico obituary | Education

My father, Pino Chirico, who has died aged 81, taught Italian to generations of students in the east of England, and had a lifelong commitment to a united, peaceful, inclusive Europe. He was born in Reggio Calabria, southern Italy, the son of Domenico Chirico, a station master, and Isabella (nee Pirozzo). He was profoundly affected by his early memories of war, having spent the summer of 1943 sleeping in his grandparents’ olive groves near Rosarno, a small town 30 miles…

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Complete shutdown of UK universities due to Covid-19 ‘impossible’ | Education

University vice-chancellors have told the government they cannot completely shut down if the coronavirus outbreak worsens because thousands of students would be left with nowhere to go. The higher education regulator for England, the Office for Students (OfS), wrote to all universities on Monday, requesting ongoing information on the number of confirmed and suspected cases of the virus on campus, as well as details of how institutions are responding to them. It is understood that any decisions about whether to…

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Schools close in north-east Kenya after al-Shabaab targets teachers | Global development

A series of targeted killings of schoolteachers by a militia group in Kenya has seen an exodus of staff and the closure of hundreds of schools across the north-east of the country. Thousands of teachers have left their posts in the past two months following several suspected al-Shabaab attacks in the region. Schools in rural areas near the Somali border have been badly hit. On 13 January, suspected members of the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab attacked the village of Kamuthe…

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Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion | Education

When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed. The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. And what had happened to Alaska? In an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, city authorities are confident their new map offers something closer to the geographical…

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UK universities face cash black hole amid coronavirus crisis | Education

British universities face a black hole of hundreds of millions of pounds in tuition fees from the impact of coronavirus as international students from China and other severely affected countries are forced to cancel or postpone enrolments. Sources told the Guardian that most universities are planning for new students from China to delay entry until January next year, with online teaching offered. Exams, including English language tests required for visas and university admissions, have been cancelled in China, where 80,000…

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Oxford University says sorry for International Women’s Day gaffe | Education

Oxford University has said it is “deeply sorry” after a female cleaner was pictured removing chalk graffiti saying “Happy International Women’s Day”. Sophie Smith, the associate professor of political theory at University College, shared a picture of the scene on Twitter, writing: “What an image for #IWD.” The university replied to the professor in a tweet saying the incident should not have happened. “We are deeply sorry for this and for offence caused. International Women’s Day is hugely important to…

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Teenage boys wear skirts to school to protest against ‘no shorts’ policy | Education

Some had borrowed from girlfriends, others from sisters. A few had gone the extra mile and shaved their legs. When the Isca academy in Devon opened on Thursday morning, an estimated 30 boys arrived for lessons, heads held high, in fetching tartan-patterned skirts. The hottest June days since 1976 had led to a bare-legged revolution at the secondary school in Exeter. As the temperature soared past 30C earlier this week, the teenage boys had asked their teachers if they could…

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Universities must do more for black students, warns watchdog | Education

Universities in England have been warned they need to improve their treatment of students, after new data revealed stark gaps in achievement for black students and higher drop-out rates for students with mental health difficulties or from disadvantaged backgrounds. The figures released by the Office for Students, the higher education regulator for England, marks a shift towards a new focus on how students from different backgrounds cope with university life, what class of degree they emerge with and what they…

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70 million children get no education, says report | Education

Almost 70 million children across the world are prevented from going to school each day, a study published today reveals. Those living in north-eastern Africa are the least likely to receive a good education – or any education at all, an umbrella body of charities and teaching unions known as the Global Campaign for Education has found. It ranks the world’s poorest countries according to their education systems. Somalia has the least functional system in the world with just 10%…

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