Foreign snippets

Top student dies after swotting for 18 hours a day  

A 14-year-old Chinese girl who studied for 18 hours a day and was under huge exam pressure at school died of a blood clot to the brain, a news report said Monday. 

Zhou Xiaoxu from Changchun, Jilin, studied from 4 am to 10 pm every day, and was one of the top students in her school, the South China Morning Post reported. 

She suffered a blood clot in her brain while studying for school exams, and died after spending eight days in a coma, the newspaper said. - dpa  

Portugal's high drop-out rate  

NEARLY one in two Portuguese students drops out before completing his or her secondary education, the highest rate in the 15-member European Union, a government study shows. 

A total of 45% of 18- to 24-year-olds had not completed high school and were not enrolled in school in Portugal in 2001. 

The study found the youth unemployment rate was low in the regions where the drop-out rate was highest, indicating that the easy availability of jobs, and money, may be leading students to leave their studies. 

“Young people are entering the labour market too early, we have to dissuade them,” said Education Minister David Justino. Students are required to complete nine-years of schooling under Portuguese law. – AFP 

Nigeria varsities may reopen 

NIGERIAN universities, shut since late December by a work stoppage, may reopen soon, according to government officials who said they had made an offer to striking lecturers. 

A key demand – the reinstatement of 44 of their colleagues sacked after a strike in 2001 – would be resolved by reabsorbing the lecturers into Nigeria's 70 universities, said Education Minister Babalola Borishade. 

In return for a settlement, he said he expected professors to immediately release the results of students' exams. 

Nigerian university teachers were also demanding better funding of universities, federal support for local universities and an enhanced housing allowance. – dpa 

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