Sex, lies and academia
WITH Hollywood still reeling from a wave of sexual harassment scandals, the controversy has now spread to the student world. I am Student X is a movement similar to the #MeToo campaign and highlights alleged abuses on female students by male professors. It was inspired by Karissa Fenwick, an American PhD student who claims her supervisor made sexual advances towards her at a conference. When she resisted, she claims he threatened to ruin her future career.
He categorically rejects the accusations. But, just as the Harvey Weinstein scandal lifted the lid on decades of abuse in planet Hollywood, I am Student X hopes the same public shaming will happen in the academic world. Its supporters argue that, because they possess power over the academic success of students, many professors are like movie producers, directors, or casting agents.
They claim that thousands of young women tolerate a culture of harassment, or worse, for fear of getting bad marks or a weak reference. But critics worry that many innocent men might get caught up in the avalanche of allegations. Some are almost impossible to prove and there is a risk that the line between assault and annoyance is being blurred.
Rural youth can’t tell time
AN ALARMING survey found that 40 percent of young people in rural India can’t tell the time. The poll, conducted by domestic NGO Pratham, also revealed that more than a third of rural students don’t know what India’s capital city is. Entitled ‘Beyond Basics: A survey of Rural Indian Youth’, the report found that 86 percent of young Indians aged 14-18 are attending school. But it questioned the quality of education offered by rural schools in particular.
One in four were found to be functionally illiterate. One in five could not name the Indian state they lived in and 40 percent couldn’t tell time properly. Surveyors also found that 73 percent had access to a mobile phone but that 40 percent had no professional role model. There are an estimated 120 million young people aged 14-18 in India. Roughly 600 million people, more than half the population, are aged under 25. Writer Snigdha Poonam estimates that India would need to build 1,000 universities in 10 years to properly educate its enormous graduate workforce.
Students fear life after graduation
UNIVERSITY students are not confident that they possess the skills and knowledge to succeed in the workplace, revealed a study from Gallup.
More than 32,000 students from 43 North American colleges were asked about their preparedness for life after graduation. Only one in three expressed confidence that they were well-equipped to enter the workplace. Half were skeptical that they would secure a job in their field of study. Gallup’s higher education department confessed that the results were ‘disappointing’. They also revealed major differences in the confidence of students in different courses.
Sixty-two percent of students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics faculties were confident of landing a good job after graduation. By contrast, just 28 percent of arts and humanities students thought their degree was useful in the job market. There were other differences. Students aged over 24 were more confident in securing a job than their younger counterparts. First generation college students and those from ethnic minorities were more likely to seek advice from professors on entering the job market. Those who sought advice were more likely to come away encouraged that they could find a job. But just 40 percent of those polled said they had visited campus career centres or asked professors for advice.
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