Today's news

十月 31, 2006

Work disparity casts doubts on student degrees
The degree classification relied on by graduate recruiters has been thrown into question after it emerged that students at different universities are being awarded the same degrees despite putting in very different levels of work. The survey of 23,000 students by the Higher Education Policy Institute found wide variation across subjects. Medicine students, for example, were putting in 42.5 hours a week in some institutions and only 22.1 hours in others. At Plymouth University, 60.9 per cent of physical sciences students achieved a first or upper second degree by working 19.9 hours a week, compared with 52.1 per cent at Bath University, where they worked 28.6 hours and also had almost double the number of A-level points from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service.
The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, The Independent

Thousands of students 'join sex trade to fund degrees'
Increasing numbers of young women in France are turning to sex work to help pay the bills while they are at university, according to one of the country's leading students' unions. According to the SUD-Etudiant union, 40,000 students in France - or nearly 2 per cent - fund their studies through the sex trade. The union says jobs taken by female students include hostess work and freelancing for escort agencies - as well as pavement prostitution. Many, it says, use secure payment sites on the internet through which they offer webcam striptease.
The Independent

Web terrorism course is sellout with security pros
Security professionals from around the world had snapped up places on a Scottish university's pioneering new terrorism course, which went live on Monday via the internet. Organisers said some 140 people have so far signed up for the St Andrews University web-based certificate in terrorism studies, with about half starting on Monday and bookings now running into 2007. Participants include police, military, coastguard and aviation officials from Britain, Australia, Canada, Scandinavia and Thailand, among other countries. "A lot of the training they undergo is very operational - which bag to open and so on".
The Scotsman

Call for part-time funding
Part-time study is not a soft option. Thousands of part-timers are struggling to pay for courses, prompting vice-chancellors to ask the Government for more funding. At present, there is no financial support for those studying less than half the hours of a full-time course. And students with an existing higher education qualification do not qualify for support. Changes to these rules would encourage more people to gain skills in the higher education sector, says Diana Green, vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University. "They may start in a position where their earnings mean that all their fees are paid for, but once they get a small promotion at work they cease to be eligible for financial help," adds Leni Oglesby, the deputy vice-chancellor of Teesside University.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Oct )

Nuclear industry signs up to skills academies
The Government will agree to plans for a national nuclear skills academy today as the industry gears up for a £65 billion clean-up programme and the possibility of a new generation of reactors. It will be one of four national academies. The three others cover chemical processing, hospitality and creative and culture. The Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, will also announce that the first three national academies, covering financial services, manufacturing and construction, are about to become operational and a fourth, food and drink, is close to going live.
The Guardian

'Not deaf enough' university head is forced out
Alison Aubrecht's hands are in a state of agitation. Knuckles strike palm, and fingers arc through the air, as she struggles to convey the scale of her victory over the institution prided as the centre of deaf culture in America - Gallaudet University in Washington. On Sunday night Gallaudet's trustees bowed to weeks of protests by students and academic staff, which had paralysed life at the university, and revoked the appointment of a controversial new president, Jane Fernandes. After the hunger strikes, occupations of college buildings, barricading of university gates and mass arrests, it was over. Ms Aubrecht and fellow protesters opposed to Ms Fernandes's appointment had won.
The Guardian

Strategy of inaction on cash-strapped science departments.
The Financial Times



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