Wetenschap - 3 juli 1997

English Summary

English Summary

English Summary
  • Over the last twelve years WAU development scientists have been collaborating with the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. Four years ago, the Dutch minister for International Cooperation, Jan Pronk, decided that universities in the South should be the leading participants in this form of cooperation and should be responsible for choosing their counterparts in the North. However, little has changed, because the Mondlane University inherited the previous mode of cooperation. As a result, the WAU Irrigation Sector is still trying to improve the education component in the Plant Soil Water project. Because central management at Maputo is still weak, the WAU participants also carry out the financial management. A critical evaluation performed by experts states that there is little joint responsibility for improvements to the university. Irrigation scientist Frans Huibers is more positive: The students there have grown up against a background of bad education, war and guerillas, while the members of staff in their forties were born when the country was still a Portugese colony. The evaluation doesn't take these circumstances into consideration.
  • Serbian students demonstrated vociferously last winter in Belgrade calling on their government to respect the local elections. Some of those students came to Wageningen last week to take a course organised by WAU's student union, on ,How a student union should operate during peace. Their wishes: they want to start a bookshop for students, mediate in the process of finding accommodation, set up a newspaper, fight for in better education and, of course, promote democracy at the university. The student demonstrators are organised in the Student Union, which wants to challenge the Student Alliance, a government funded group which has a lot of privileges
  • WAU students and staff are eagerly awaiting the new timetable for the coming academic year. Compiling the timetable is proving a challenge for the University because the education committees have changed their programmes and the University has increased the number of exam periods. The University has underestimated the time needed for the introduction of the new system, states timetable producer Andre Stijns
  • Thirteen scientists, among them WAU-ecologist Dolf de Groot, recently estimated the financial worth of nature on mother earth in an article in the journal Nature. According to them its value is sixty trillion guilders a year. A trillion is a million cubed. What's the use of this enormous figure? When you want to make a choice which will have negative impacts on nature, you should know how much economic value you stand to lose, states de Groot. A loss of ecological functions will cause soil degradation, erosion and bring about extra expenses for health measures.

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