Indian PhD student turns political
A YOUNG politician, who completed his PhD in February, has become a household name in India as the world’s most populous democracy prepares to hold local elections. Kanhaiya Kumar, 32, is standing for election in the eastern state of Bihar– home to more than 100m people.
Until recently he was an anonymous doctoral student whose sole claim to fame was being the student body president at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He was arrested in 2016 during a rally where anti-nationalist slogans were chanted and, in 2018, was elected to the national body of the Indian Communist Party.
Now standing for election to a public office, he has campaigned on reducing divisions between Hindus and Muslims and has emerged as one of the strongest voices of opposition to the country’s leader Narendra Modi.
He has found support among young voters and will be campaigning until the middle of May when the results are due.
University fees rise in France for non-EU nationals
International students from non-EU countries will face higher universities fees in France from the start of the 2019/2020 academic term. It is part of a new higher-education programme taking root in the country which is designed to improve both the quality of learning and the calibre of students.
The ‘Welcome to France’ programme hopes to increase the numbers of foreign students at French universities from 300,000 to 500,000 by 2027 but the tuition increase has proven controversial. Some African student bodies have argued that it discriminates against potential students from North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, which are poorer and also home to larger Francophone populations.
Fees will go up to €3,770 for Masters programmes, which will still mean France is one of the cheaper western European nations to study in. Non-EU students wishing to do a Masters in the UK or the Netherlands will likely pay more than €10,000.
Japanese professors banned from lighting up
A Japanese university has banned smoking on campus and says it will no longer hire professors who smoke. Nagasaki University will enforce the ban from August and open a clinic for current staff who wish to quit, a spokesman told the AFP.
We have reached a conclusion that smokers are not fit for the education sector,” the spokesman said, adding that job applicants who promise to quit before starting their new position will still be considered.
The decision comes as Japan prepares to crack down on public smoking ahead of the 2020 Olympics. New laws have banned smoking in restaurants and there will be a complete ban, including e-cigarettes, at all Olympic venues.