Sunday, September 15, 2013

Muslim girl is ordered by German judge to wear a ‘burkini’ at her school swimming class after she refused to take part as it was against her religion

A German court has ruled that a young Muslim girl must attend mixed swimming lessons at her school wearing a 'burkini' - a full-bodied costume which includes a head-covering.

The ruling is an important one for the country which has over 5 million Muslims, most of them Turks, in the population.

The girl had complained that she felt 'uncomfortable' going swimming with 'bare chested' boys near her and either wanted to be allowed to skip the lessons or be given special instruction on her own.

But the Federal Administrative Court in the eastern city of Leipzig has ruled that 'social reality of life in Germany came above her religious beliefs'.

They said the coverall swimsuit was the best solution for the girl, 13, and noted that several of her friends at the school in Frankfurt already donned burkinis to swim.

The girl, whose family come from Morocco, was represented by a lawyer in Wednesday's hearing who said that according to the Koran, she was not only forbidden from showing herself to boys but also from seeing the topless boys.

But the court said: 'The plaintiff has not made sufficiently clear that taking part in co-educational swimming lessons with a burkini breaches Muslim rules on clothing,' rejecting her appeal against earlier decisions by two courts in the western state of Hesse.

Judge Werner Neumann said an education system in a pluralistic society could not accommodate every religious concern, and the burkini would accommodate the girl’s Muslim beliefs.

'The result would be the widespread disintegration of lessons otherwise,' he added.


Half of British employers say graduates are 'not up to the job': Findings fuel fears universities fail to equip students with life skills

Half of graduate employers complain that most of their new recruits are not up to the job, research reveals.

The findings will fuel fears that universities are failing to equip students with life skills, such as the ability to work in teams, communicate, and be punctual and determined.

To mark the launch of the new edition of the Good University Guide, YouGov surveyed 635 senior managers, of whom 419 were graduate recruiters.  Some 52 per cent of graduate employers said ‘none’ or ‘few’ recruits were ‘work ready’.

Researchers said the study challenged ‘the effectiveness of the millions of pounds universities are spending in augmenting degrees with programmes designed to equip their graduates with the workplace skills to make them an immediate asset to employers’.

The survey also found that 61 per cent said the most important factor when considering graduates for a job was the course they studied. Eight per cent said it was the university they attended.

Alistair McCall, one of the editors of the Good University Guide said: 'University prospectuses are now full of programmes and initiatives promising to give students more than just a degree.  ‘They say they will equip students with the skills they need to make them more attractive to employers.

‘The YouGov survey findings suggest this is an investment that is sorely needed. With the typical degree now costing £27,000 in tuition fees alone, students have a right to be better prepared for the battleground that is the graduate jobs market.’

Last year, Stephen Isherwood, former head of graduate recruitment at Ernst & Young, said that just one in four bright graduates demonstrated ‘all round’ skills such as being able to cope in difficult situations.

Thousands of university-leavers with good degrees lacked the key attributes the firm demanded such as showing determination, being able to recover from set-backs and thriving in difficult situations.

He said: ‘We interview over 3,000 bright graduates every year, but only about 25 per cent have the all-round skill set that we recruit for.’

Meanwhile statistics released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) recently revealed that a fifth of students are unemployed six months after graduating from some British universities.

They fail to get even menial work despite three years of study and the accumulation of debts amid stiff competition for graduate jobs.

At London South Bank University, 22.6 per cent of students were not working or embarking on further study six months after graduating last summer, the HESA figures showed.


Education Dep't Using Civil Rights Law to Get More Black Students Into AP Classes

Education for whites MUST BE DESTROYED  -- if that is what is needed to serve the great God of equality

In a first-of-its-kind civil rights agreement, the Obama administration has struck a deal with the public school system in Opelika, Alabama to get more African-American students into Advanced Placement classes.

The Education Department's Office of Civil Rights launched its investigation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to find out if the Lee County School District was providing "equal opportunity and equal access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses and other higher-level learning opportunities" that prepare students for success in their college years and beyond.

The data demonstrated that, district-wide, African-American high school students were underrepresented in AP and higher level courses, including in all higher level mathematics courses, particularly in calculus and statistics courses. 

Investigators found that a disproportionately low number of African American students were enrolled in eighth-grade algebra, which prepares students for the district's highest-level math and science classes, including AP courses. The investigation also found that advanced math was offered to seventh-graders in the district's predominantly white middle schools, but not at the district's predominantly black middle school.

While the district's predominantly white high schools offered a large overall number of advanced courses in a wide variety of subjects, the predominantly black high school had "significantly fewer" advanced courses, and AP courses were offered only online.

"We look forward to working with the Lee County School District administrators to ensure that all students have equal access to a quality education, and are pleased that the district has taken positive steps to increase college-ready access through raising the enrollment of black students in AP and other higher level courses," said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights.

Federal investigators said the school district voluntarily entered into a resolution agreement before OCR announced its findings.

Under the agreement, the district will:

-- Develop a district-wide plan for addressing the under-representation of African American students in AP and higher level courses;

-- Identify any barriers to African American students' participation in AP and higher level courses;

-- Permit students to participate in distance learning opportunities at schools providing more AP and higher-level options;

-- Establish dual-enrollment courses with the local community college for students at the predominantly African American high school and provide transportation for all students who elect to take dual-enrollment courses;

-- Encourage students at all of the district's elementary, middle, and high schools to aspire to attend college, and to participate in AP and higher level courses.

The district's comprehensive plan will be based on recommendations from an expert consultant, feedback from students, parents and staff, and a self-assessment.

OCR says its mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights law.


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