News at a glance

28th February 2014 at 00:00

Malala desks remind students of fight for education

A Scottish council is to put a desk bearing the engraved signature of teenage education campaigner Malala Yousafzai in every one of its 161 schools. Fife Council is manufacturing the pound;70 tables in order to encourage students to think about children around the world who do not have access to education. Desks could be left empty as a reminder of the struggle for universal education, or students who excel in activities on global citizenship could be allowed to sit at them as a reward, the council said.

Holocaust essays will give young people a voice

Young people are being invited to enter an essay competition in order to become advisers to the new UK Holocaust Commission. Six winners aged 16-21 will be chosen to take part in a special youth forum. The commission will meet later this year to discuss whether Britain needs a permanent and fitting memorial to the Holocaust. Entrants must write an essay answering the question, "Why is it so important that we remember the Holocaust and how can we make sure future generations never forget?" One winner will be chosen to sit on the Holocaust Commission and feed back the views of the youth forum. To enter, visit

US schools drafted into war on junk food

The US federal government plans to regulate how food is marketed in the country's 100,000 public schools for the first time. The move is part of First Lady Michelle Obama's drive to make junk food less appealing to children. The White House and the Department of Agriculture have proposed marketing regulations that would ban in-school advertising for foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt. Food and beverage advertising is present in 70 per cent of elementary and middle schools in the US, and 90 per cent of high schools, according to The Washington Post.

`Decorum commission' will battle bad behaviour in Sweden

Sweden's education minister has appointed an official "decorum commissioner" to tackle bad behaviour in classrooms. Jan Bjrklund appointed former unionist Metta Fjelkner to head a commission on how to alleviate problems in Sweden's schools. Mr Bjrklund said that it was important for parents to stop blaming teachers for classroom unruliness, and that teachers could not make a difference by themselves. "If a teacher tries to create order in the classroom, I far too often feel that parents take the side of the students," he said.

Minister takes action on female genital mutilation

Education secretary for England Michael Gove has announced that he will write to all primary and secondary schools to highlight official guidelines on the issue of female genital mutilation (FGM). The guidance on keeping girls safe will be sent out by Easter and will include material to enable teachers to tackle the subject in an age-appropriate way. It will also contain statistics on the prevalence of FGM, factors that heighten risk and reminders of schools' and teachers' statutory duties. Mr Gove made the pledge after a petition calling for him to take action received nearly 250,000 signatures.


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