International News in Brief
By Úna Sinnott | Oct 10 2018A top White House administrator is pushing an agenda to ban Chinese students from studying in the USA, while female college students are left feeling uncomfortable by transgender toilets.In the Spring, the White House administration was debating how to combat Chinese espionage. Stephen Miller urged the President and other officials to stop admitting Chinese students into the U.S. Miller’s proposal was rejected recently over concerns about its economic and diplomatic impact. Media reports commented that the State Department has been cutting back the length of visas it grants to one year for Chinese graduate students studying in certain subject areas.Terry Branstad, the U.S. Ambassador to China, who is a former Iowa governor, challenged Stephen Miller on the matter, arguing that banning Chinese students would do greater harm to small colleges, including institutions in Iowa, than to wealthy Ivy League schools.The Trump administration had another student related topic on its desk since college commenced, with an investigation underway to see whether a Georgia University’s policy allowing students to choose the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity contributed to a “hostile environment” for female students.The issue of transgender toilets is a hot topic with the department announcing that it is currently investigating the complaint after a girl was attacked in her college restroom.We may take wifi access for granted in University College Dublin, however, students from certain Chinese colleges face a puzzle to solve to receive connectivity.Students in the cafeteria at China's Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics must solve a calculus equation to get the school Wi-Fi password, state media reported.This is not the only hurdle facing students for internet access across the campus, with an eight-note melody containing the password to the Wi-Fi connection awaiting students at the school's Xinyuan Library Restaurant. Despite the challenge, students aren't worried about their internet access. Users commented on social media that once a student solves the equation, they'll just share the answer and everyone will get internet access.Students in Hong Kong have more serious matters on their mind, however, with Pro-independence slogans seen on University of Hong Kong and Polytechnic University campuses, two days after Hong Kong National Party was banned on national security grounds.Banners in support of Hong Kong independence were on display recently on two university campuses, two days after a separatist party was outlawed on national security grounds. Student Union President at Polytechnic University, Lam Wing-hang, speaking in front of the posters through an amplifier, said the new arrangements would remain in place. Dozens of students gathered to listen to his speech, which began trending on the social media site Twitter. Wing-hang criticised the request to remove the independence post as being the management’s latest move to “suffocate” free speech by students.In an attempt to benefit from Britain leaving the EU, Ireland has taken a step towards prioritising foreign languages and student exchanges. Launched by the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton during Autumn, the campaign is supported by a website that will act as a “one-stop shop” for schools, parents and students interested in language learning. According to government officials, this is to help our country secure a spot among the top 10 in Europe for language teaching and learning.“We have set the ambition to put Ireland in the top 10 countries in Europe for the teaching and learning of foreign languages, as part of our overall goal to have the best education system in Europe,” Richard Bruton commented on the matter.He added that 10 Irish schools will be awarded €15,000 each who would not otherwise be able to participate in exchange programs. This monetary sum will be used to contribute towards exchange costs such as flights, to offer scholarships to students.