Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 21

Why are India's Dalit students taking their lives?

By Soutik Biswas

"My birth is my fatal accident... I always was rushing. Desperate to start a life... I am not sad. I am just empty. Unconcerned about myself. That's pathetic. And that's why I am doing this."

These are excerpts from the last letter - "this kind of letter for the first time" - that Rohith Vemula, a PhD student at Hyderabad Central University wrote before he killed himself on Sunday.

It is, at once, an eloquent and chilling suicide note: a young man who loved "science, stars, nature and people", and aspired to become a science writer like Carl Sagan, ended up defeated and crushed by discrimination and apathy.

'Steadily isolated'

Mr Vemula, 26, was one of five Dalit - formerly known as untouchable - students who were protesting against their expulsion from the university's housing facility. India's 180 million Dalits are among its most wretched citizens, because of an unforgiving and cruel caste hierarchy that condemns them to the bottom of the heap.

Mr Vemula and the four other students faced allegations last August that they attacked a member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) - the student wing of the governing Hindu nationalist BJP - on the campus. Some reports say an investigation had found no "conclusive evidence" of the assault.

Full story at BBC News (January 2016)

Malaysia : Teacher Under Investigation For Flicking Rubber Band At Students’ Genitals

Picture for illustration purposes only.

Discipline teacher under investigation for allegedly flicking rubber bands at students’ genitals

We have all received embarrassing and ego-crushing punishments in our yesteryears as kids or teenagers. These punishments; be it by our teachers or parents, were meant to educate us and to right our wrong ways.

However, one teacher might have had the wrong intentions in his unorthodox punishment on two students.

A discipline master from a school here in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan is currently being investigated by authorities for allegedly abusing two of his pupils by flicking rubber bands at their genitals.

According to a report by New Straits Times via The New Paper, Mrs Maimunah Harun and Mr Ramlan Razak, filed the report to authorities after the school board and education department failed to take any actions against the matter for nearly two months.

Mrs Maimunah’s grandson and Mr Ramlan’s son fell victim to the discipline master’s unorthodox and questionable means of punishment. Both students are reported to be 12 years of age.

Full story at Coverage (January 2016)

Students who 'fail' year 12 by scoring ATARs as low as 30 being accepted into prestigious Australian university courses

• Students with marks up to 40 points below course cut-offs are accepted
• They are studying courses such as business, engineering and teaching
• Macquarie University accepted 64% of students with marks below cut-off
• NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said he was irritated

By Tang Li

Students who have failed to gain the minimum entry requirement grades for their chosen degree are still being accepted into courses, a Fairfax Media investigation has found.

The University of Sydney, UNSW, Macquarie University and Western Sydney University are among NSW universities accepting school leavers with ATARs below the advertised cut-off.

The most significant differences include marks that are 40 points below minimum entry scores.

Sydney University accepted the least amount of students that received ATARs below the cut-off

According to data from Fairfax Media, Western Sydney University's Bachelor of Construction Management had the most offers (53 per cent) which were more than 20 points below the cut-off of 85.

Coming in close behind is the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at Western Sydney University where 50 per cent of offers were more than 20 points below the cut-off of 83.2.

Two applicants that had only scored an ATAR of 67 were accepted into the coveted Combined Law degree at UNSW, which has the highest entry score for law in NSW at 99.7.

Western Sydney University accepted the most students with an ATAR more than 20 points below the cut-off

Other courses accepting students with marks well below the threshold include business and teaching at Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, UNSW and the University of Sydney.

All four universities offer bonus points for the disadvantaged, alternate pathways and transfer programs, which contribute to the increase in lower-performing students being accepted into top courses with a cut-off higher than what they achieved.

In other states such as Victoria, the University of Melbourne also offer guaranteed entry pathways based on academic performance in an undergraduate degree, and are not subject to any ATAR requirement.

Full story at Mail Online (January 2016)

One in five children watching porn on internet, ministers reveal in crackdown on providers

Some 1.4 million children visited adult websites in a single month, government says as consultation proposes threatening cash supply

Ministers pledged a new crackdown on the ease of access to online pornography. Photo: Alamy

By Ben Riley-Smith

One in five children using the Internet has viewed online pornography, government analysis has revealed as ministers pledged to stop adult sites making money unless they check the age of visitors.

Some 1.4 million Britons aged under-18 visited pornography sites in a single month, figures published by the government today reveal amid fears children are developing a “warped view of sexual relationships”.

Ministers have revealed plans to fine porn websites up to £250,000 if they refuse to adopt age verifying software to ensure children do not accidentally watch adult videos online.

And in a major new drive the government wants to force online banks like Visa and Mastercard to stop facilitating payments to sites that fail to implement age rating in a move to cut off their cash supply.

Ministers should impose controls on adult web content from sites based in Britain or overseas, said a poll. Photo: GETTY

The proposals are contained in a government consultation published today and comes after David Cameron vowed to force pornography sites to adopt age verification in the Tory election manifesto.

Campaigners and experts have found evidence that children who watch online pornography can develop long-term problems including more “aggressive” behaviour in their love life when adults.

Analysis contained in the consultation based on industry statistics from comScore reveals that last May around 13 per cent of children online aged between 6 and 14 watched pornography. For children of all ages the figure rises to one in five.

Ministers attempting to tackle the problem have struggled with the fact that the vast majority of porn sites watched in the UK are actually based overseas.

Full story at The Telegraph (February 2016)