world view

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 July, 2004, 12:00am

Academic brain gain reverses flow of drain

A brain gain in young academic talent from overseas is swelling the ranks of British and Australian universities. An investigation by Britain's Association of University Teachers found that each year, thousands of young researchers from other countries are securing university positions in the UK.

Likewise, a new report by academics at Monash University in Melbourne says that, far from losing its brightest minds to better-paying places on the other side of the globe, Australia is attracting a greater number of skilled people than leave the country, especially those with PhDs.

In Britain, subject areas showing the biggest net brain gain are the biosciences, chemistry and physics. Recent university cutbacks in the provision of 'big science' have forced universities to look overseas for new staff. Gains are also being reported in subjects such as electrical and software engineering and business and management studies, as British academics migrate to the private sector, attracted by higher salaries.

Singapore girl proves a winner with words

A 15-year-old Singapore student beat off competition from more than 5,000 older students from 52 countries to bag the top prize in this year's Commonwealth Essay Competition. Amanda Chong, a student at the Raffles Girls' School, opted to compete in the 16 to 18 category and won with an essay on 'the restlessness of modern life'. In What The Modern Woman Wants, Amanda wrote about the conflict of values between an old lady and her independent-minded daughter. 'I attempted to convey the unique East-versus-West struggles and generation gaps that I felt were characteristic of young people in my country,' Amanda told the Straits Times. She was awarded a cash prize of GBP500 (HK$7,200). Other winners included students from Australia, Canada and South Africa.

Minding their language

A group of 79 teachers and students from Britain are learning Putonghua at a summer camp in Kunming, as well as being exposed to Chinese calligraphy, martial arts and even cooking. Xinhua estimates 400 British teachers and students are on similar camps in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Xiamen.

more sex please, we're British

British teenagers believe they do not get enough sex education at school. In a poll by English teen magazine Sugar, nearly half of readers responding said the sex education they received at school was unsatisfactory, while only 30 per cent found the lessons useful. Among the 500 teenagers, three in four said schools should be responsible for teaching them about sex.