Is Farouk Hosni worthy of leading UNESCO?

UNESCO will choose its new general director this evening. It's Farouk Hosni, Egyptian Culture Minister since 1986, who looks set to succeed Koïchiro Matsuura at the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. But will the man who pledged to "burn" Israeli books really fit the bill? Read more...

Cheating their way into uni, Bond style

Cheating is as old as exams themselves. In China however, cheating involves a cunning blend of technology, innovation, and acting. Rubbers with miniature screens, rulers with inbuilt cameras, earpieces... we're a long way from cheat sheets and writing on the inside of your pencil case. Read more...


Border dispute: Mexican residents attending US state-funded schools

This video claims to show dozens of Mexican residents crossing the border into Arizona and being driven by bus to a school in the town of Douglas, where they allegedly attend a state-funded school. The document has caused a furore in the state. Read more and watch the video...


Giving birth on the school field

This video of a UK teenager giving birth on a school field has been blocked by YouTube. Read more and see the video...


Pakistan’s ghost schools… "partly funded by the World Bank"

One of our Observers in Pakistan tells us that in the Sindh province alone there are more than 7,000 schools - partly financed by the World Bank - which don't actually exist. The money is pouring into the local authorities, but the schools are never opened. Read more...


Murdered by her own teacher. Why?

Two years ago, an 11-year-old girl was beaten with a metal bar and thrown from her fourth-floor classroom by her history teacher. On Monday a Chinese chat forum dug up and posted a graphic news report about the incident, reigniting the debate about how such a tragedy came to pass. Read more and see the report...


Mum's not married? No school for you then

"I am a local child. I want to receive compulsory education, too!"

Seven-year-old Xiao Qing's parents weren't married when she was born. Considered illegitimate by the state, she's not allowed to go to school until her mother pays a €900 fee. Not so easy when you're unemployed... Read more.


Got a degree, now where are the jobs?

Material from Zhang, our regional editor for China.

This video shows surging crowds at an employment fair organised by Nanchang University in southeast China. In 1999, China launched a scheme to increase university enrolments and to develop its tertiary - or service - sector. The endeavour seems to have worked: China has a growth rate of 9% per year and boasts unemployment levels of under 5%. But the vibrant Chinese labour market has nevertheless failed to absorb the huge influx of qualified workers being churned out by the country's universities. See below...

Post your questions to Zhang.


From the French suburbs to Washington: reactions to the riots outside Paris

Material compiled by Team Observers

Two youths were killed in Villiers-le-Bel, a suburb north of Paris, on Sunday when a police car collided with a moped. The event sparked violent clashes between the police and groups of youths in four neighbouring towns. That night, 64 police officers were injured. The French are hoping the violence will not spread to other cities as they did in November 2005. This amateur video, posted on, was taken at the scene of the accident. We’ve interviewed two local school supervisors (surveillants de lycée), who wish to remain anonymous. We’re also publishing a reaction by an American blogger, who said, "such a situation wouldn’t happen in the US." You can contact all three contributors directly on their profile page.

The Orthodox church in Russian schools

Material collected by our Russian/former-USSR reporter, Maria Antonova

Classes on the fundamentals of Orthodox culture have been introduced in the schools and universities of several Russian regions. They have become an important part of the curriculum- they are mandatory and graded. Representatives of the Orthodox church recognise that during the Soviet period, atheism and materialism led the population away from the Orthodox culture. Now, parts of Russia are using the religion as a means of reinforcing a national identity. However, Russia is a secular country, where at least one quarter of the population is not Orthodox Christian.