In brief

8th May 2009 at 01:00

Primary shock

A sharp decline in aid to developing countries threatens to reverse progress toward universal primary schooling, according to a Unesco report. It cites the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's identification of a 22 per cent drop in aid commitments to basic education between 2006-07. There are 75 million children out of school, and many more drop out before completing primary education. Projections indicate that the target of universal primary education by 2015, agreed in 2000, will be missed by at least 30 million children.

Body search legal

A girl strip-searched in school on suspicion of hiding extra-strength ibuprofen in her underwear has had an unsympathetic hearing in the United States's Supreme Court, reports the Los Angeles Times. Most justices were concerned about limiting staff's authority to search for more serious drugs. In 2003, a vice-principal at Safford Middle School in Arizona told a nurse to search 13-year-old Savana Redding's underwear for the pills. She had nothing to hide and sued on grounds of an "unreasonable search". A lawyer for Safford Unified School District said even a "body-cavity search" would be legal, although no school official would carry it out. A ruling, which will have nationwide implications, is expected in late June.

A job? In science?

Nearly 40 per cent of high-school pupils who come top in science subjects have no interest in science jobs, according to a new OECD report. Top of the Class shows that about half of 15-year-olds are not well-informed about what a science career entails (see p4).

Fundraiser disabled

Bad publicity has persuaded a South Australian school to cancel plans for children to dress as disabled people in a charity fundraiser, reports the Adelaide Advertiser. Ramco Primary sent a newsletter to parents with details of a "disability day", with prizes for the "best students dressed as a person with a disability". The idea was to raise money for a Bangladeshi clinic. The newsletter read: "Get your thinking hats on and see what disability you can represent!"

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