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RECESSION

Record student intake at Swedish universities

Almost 300,000 students signed up for courses at Swedish universities in 2009 - the highest number ever, according to new statistics published on Monday.

Record student intake at Swedish universities
Exchange students at Stockholm University

Swedish institutions of higher education furthermore reported a record surplus of two billion kronor ($280 million) for 2009, according to the National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) report.

The agency has collated data from all of Sweden’s state universities, as well as Chalmers University of Technology and Jönköping University, and found that student numbers have increased at almost all seats of learning.

“A large generation of school leavers and the difficult economic climate have probably had a significant impact on the substantial increase. This will probably hold even after this year,” agency head Anders Flodström said in a statement.

Aside from the record student numbers, 2009 was also a bumper year in terms of financial performance for Sweden’s universities. The sector reached the ceiling for state financing for the first time in several years, with research funding also outstripping cost rises.

The combined surplus came in at two billion kronor, with Lund University reporting the highest surplus of 450 million kronor. Several more universities reported surpluses of over 200 million kronor while Växjö and Halmstad were among those reporting a deficit.

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ISLAM

Police probe opened after poster campaign against ‘Islamophobic’ lecturers at French university

The French government condemned on Monday a student protest campaign targeting two university professors accused of Islamophobia, saying it could put the lecturers in danger.

Police probe opened after poster campaign against 'Islamophobic' lecturers at French university
Illustration photo: Justin Tallis/AFP

Student groups plastered posters last week on the walls of a leading political science faculty in Grenoble that likened the professors to “fascists” and named them both in a campaign backed by the UNEF student union.

Junior interior minister Marlene Schiappa said the posters and social media comments recalled the online harassment of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty last October, who was beheaded in public after being denounced online for offending Muslims.

“These are really odious acts after what happened with the decapitation of Samuel Paty who was smeared in the same way on social networks,” she said on the BFM news channel. “We can’t put up with this type of thing.”

“When something is viewed as racist or discriminatory, there’s a hierarchy where you can report these types of issues, which will speak to the professor and take action if anything is proven,” Schiappa said.

Sciences Po university, which runs the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Grenoble in eastern France, also condemned the campaign on Monday and has filed a criminal complaint.

An investigation has been opened into slander and property damage after the posters saying “Fascists in our lecture halls. Islamophobia kills” were found on the walls of the faculty.

One of the professors is in charge of a course called “Islam and Muslims in contemporary France” while the other is a lecturer in German who has taught at the faculty for 25 years.

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