Foreign snippets

  • Education
  • Sunday, 01 Jun 2003

Delinquents put on pink bus 

UNRULY English pupils are being bussed to and from their school on the Isle of Wight, in an uncomfortable old-model pink bus with no heating, in a punishment designed to embarrass juvenile offenders. 

Alan White, who heads the bus company, said pupils were ashamed to be seen on the bus. 

“They cover their faces and bob down below the windows to stop people looking at them.” 

The Pink Peril is the oldest in the company's fleet. Pink has been chosen, not only for embarrassment, but also because boys perceive the colour to be “uncool”, and most of the miscreants are boys. It does, however, have modern closed circuit television cameras. 

Disruptive pupils are segregated from their more orderly fellows. If they misbehave on the bus in the morning, the driver is instructed to make the journey home take longer. 

School authorities claim a “dramatic reduction in threatening, abusive and violent incidents”. – dpa  


Morocco fights 'curse of illiteracy' 

MOROCCAN Prime Minister Driss Jettou launched a national campaign against what he called Morocco's “curse of illiteracy” on Wednesday. 

Dubbed Massirat al-Nour (Path to Light), the campaign “marks the beginning of Morocco's battle against illiteracy and lack of education,” said Jettou, who is concerned that in the last 47 years since Morocco's independence, illiteracy rates have gone down very little. 

Since 1960 illiteracy has gone down from 80% to 48& in the north African country. But there are still more than 12 million illiterate Moroccans today, and especially affected are women (three out of five) and residents of rural areas (two out of three). 

“The extent of this curse is both shocking and alarming, and continues to leave its mark in society,” said Jettou.  

The campaign to promote literacy to some 570,000 people, consists of promoting administrative meetings in departments and provinces, and distributing manuals to literacy instructors and beneficiaries alike. 


Sri Lanka seeks aid to rebuild 300 schools 


SRI Lanka has called for urgent help to rebuild at least 300 schools damaged by unprecedented floods in the island's south where some 30,000 students lost their books. 

Education Minister Karunasena Kodituwakku said the authorities were stretched to the limit and were seeking stationery, books and furniture to re-equip the schools affected by the floods. He said at least 100 schools had been completely destroyed while another 200 were damaged. 

“In some places, the school buildings have completely collapsed or been buried in mud,” Kodituwakku said. “In all the 300 schools, we can't find any furniture or books. All that is lost. We can arrange school uniforms and textbooks, but we need help with other stationery and building materials. We are not in a position to do it ourselves at the moment.” – AFP 


London school can't afford teachers 

A STATE secondary school in south London sent hundreds of its pupils home at midday last week, its head saying it could not afford to pay the staff to teach them. 

Jonathan Parker, head of Edenham High School in Croydon, said 720 of the school's 1,200 pupils had been told to go home after lunch, as a result of a funding crisis that has hit many schools in England and Wales. The pupils are 15 or 16 years old and not preparing for final examinations. 

Parker said he had no funds to pay additional “supply teachers” – temporary staff employed when permanent staff are on leave or are ill. “We had to reduce down the deficit and one of the only ways we could do it was to cut down on the number of supply teachers.” 

Navenka Ross, 12, a pupil at the school, said: “This is stupid. I hope this stops soon. My end-of-year exams are coming up and this is making me more worried about them.” – dpa 


School bars students who go to Hawaii 

OFFICIALS at an elementary school in Japan's northern Akita prefecture forced their students who visited Hawaii for vacation to stay home for 10 days. Two sisters, aged eight and 10, went to Hawaii from May 17 with their family for vacation and returned to Japan on May 22. School officials asked their mother not to let them go to school for 10 days on concerns over SARS. 

“Although the World Health Organisation has not listed the United States as one of the countries affected by SARS, the country is not 100% safe as some peoplecontracted the disease,” the school officials were quoted as saying. – dpa  


180 schools burned in Acheh 

MORE than 180 schools have been burned in Indonesia's western province of Aceh, where government forces have been fighting to put down a separatist rebellion. The military blamed the fires on the Free Aceh Movement, a rebel group that seeks to make Aceh an independent state.  

About 80 schools in the town of Bireun were burned, Major Gen Endang Suwarya, the military commander in Aceh, said. The rebels denied responsibility for the fires. – LAT-WP 

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