Foreign snippets

  • Education
  • Sunday, 16 Feb 2003

Thai school closes to escape vice 

A PRESTIGIOUS Thai school near Bangkok's backpacker mecca known as Khao San Road has decided to close its doors to escape proliferating bars and the encroaching drug culture. 

The Ampornpaisarn Anusorn kindergarten and primary school, which has been operating for 40 years, will close in the next few months, said director Pichitra Hengsakul. 

“We can guarantee that there are no drugs at all in our school compound but we are concerned that students have to go through an unpleasant environment on their way home,” she said. 

Pichitra said the number of bars and entertainment venues had increased around the school, which is near the famous Khao San Road that is popular with backpackers. 

“The school's environment is the main reason we decided to close,” she said, adding that student numbers had dropped to 350. – AFP 

Harvard-Citibank scheme 

HARVARD University is working with the world’s biggest financial services group to make it easier for students to attend its graduate schools. Citibank would begin offering below-market interest rates to all of the 12,000 graduate and professional students at the prestigious university, including foreign students. 

The initiative would save students in aggregate between US$1.25mil and US$4mil (RM4.75mil to RM15.2mil) a year in finance costs. Student debt levels vary at Harvard graduate schools, where the cost of tuition alone ranges from US$16,400 to US$30,500 (RM62,300 to RM115,900) – Reuters 

Intellectual Property Academy 

SINGAPORE’S newest law training academy officially opened recently with a top minister comparing it to the Starship Enterprise

Senior Minister of State Ho Peng Kee said the academy aims to train up to 250 professionals a year on how to manage and protect inventions and then likened the institution to the Star Trek television series. “Similar to the vessel that pioneered space exploration, I believe the Intellectual Property Academy will play a catalytic role as we expand the frontiers of Singapore’s pioneering efforts,” Ho said. 

The academy will offer certificate courses and seminars to lawyers, patent agents, marketing strategists and investment bankers. – dpa  

Back to school for Afghans 

UNICEF has started a “Back to School” campaign in Afghanistan, delivering US$15mil (RM57mil) in school material to Afghan authorities. Schools reopen next month for the second full year 

UN spokesman Edward Carwardine said the first of the seven planned airlifts of 3,200 tonnes of “School in a Box” material arrived in Kabul earlier this month. There is no unified national curriculum in Afghanistan and only 11.5 million textbooks are in print with a need for 27 million. 

Of the approximately 4.5 million school-age children, only three million could be absorbed into schools last year.  

Some 65,000 teachers are currently in service and the country needs at least 28,000 more. Most teachers do not have qualifications beyond grade 12 and are paid low salaries – about US$43 (RM160) per month. – dpa 

Hi-tech Aussie network 

THE Australian Government will establish Australia’s next generation high capacity research and education computer network. By significantly increasing the bandwidth available to Australia’s universities, the new Australian Research and Education Network will help ensure Australian universities remain at the forefront of research and education. 

Accessible and affordable bandwidth is critical to modern university and research life. Students, researchers and administrators in Australia and around the world, will benefit from this substantial upgrading of Australia’s existing sophisticated education and research network. 

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