For the record

March 29, 2002

Philosophers protest at teaching of creationism
Some 43 philosophers and scientists have sent a letter to prime minister Tony Blair to protest at the teaching of creationism at the state-funded Emmanuel College in Gateshead.

The signatories include John Maynard Smith, Janet Radcliffe Richards and Richard Dawkins.

The protest, organised by the British Humanist Association, calls for the national curriculum to be changed to prevent creationism being taught as a scientific hypothesis.

Mackenzie Fraser is UHI's new secretary
The UHI Millennium Institute has appointed James Mackenzie Fraser, secretary of Paisley University, as its secretary.

The UHI, a high-tech network of further education colleges and research institutes, was last year designated a higher education institution by the Scottish Parliament. It hopes to achieve full university status.

EPSRC helps scientists to communicate
Scientists will be encouraged to get training on how to communicate with the public as part of an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council scheme.

The EPSRC will offer £500 extra grant to courses that cover communication via broadcast or written media, and for presentations, lectures, demonstrations or debates for the public and schools.

Library wins lottery grant for expansion
The Hartley Library at Southampton University has won a £951,000 National Lottery grant to double the size of its reading room and create storage space. The archives include the papers of Lord Mountbatten.

AHRB appoints 20 creative fellows
Twenty new fellows in the creative and performing arts have been appointed by the Arts and Humanities Research Board.

The fellows will receive £18,000 a year, for up to three years.

Rise in NI honours students
There was an 18 per cent rise in the number of Northern Ireland students gaining higher degrees between 1998-99 and 2000-01, and an 8 per cent rise in students taking first degrees. Numbers of first-class or upper-second honours degrees rose by 10 per cent. The number of students on other undergraduate courses rose by 6 per cent

Learndirect, the e-learning network, has produced a national database of online tutors in a public-private partnership with recruiters Select Education.

3,000 tutors register for online database
More than 3,000 teachers have registered to join the National Tutor Service. Those accepted undergo skills, experience, qualifications and suitability checking.

£6m project aims to give workers IT skills
A project to help give workers in the East Midlands the latest computer skills is bidding for £3 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. A matching £3 million will come from the East Midlands Development Agency and the private sector.

It will be coordinated by De Montfort University and will pool resources from ten universities and 20 further education colleges.

About 40 per cent of Leicestershire's 23,000 small and medium-sized businesses are not yet using information technology.

Ireland's coastline threatened by storms
The coastlines of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic are shrinking every year because they are vulnerable and poorly managed, Andrew Cooper of the University of Ulster said at the International Coastal Symposium hosted by his university.

He warned that climate changes would mean that storms would get more frequent and powerful, endangering shorelines.

NI department hands back £11m loans cash
The government department responsible for the two universities and further education colleges in Northern Ireland has handed back almost £12 million to the central exchequer. Low loans take-up accounted for £10.6 million, the remainder was savings from the New Deal programme aimed at over-50s.

Peter O'Neill, manager of the National Union of Students Union of Students in Ireland Student Centre, said students in the province were resistant to taking on large debts.

Survey looks at how students stay on track
Student services, including counselling, personal tutoring, careers and employment services, will be put in the spotlight in a project that aims to identify how effective they are at keeping students on course.

The Department for Education and Skills and Universities UK this week announced the launch of the research, to be carried out by the Institute for Access Studies at Staffordshire University.

£5m extra for Scottish careers service
Wendy Alexander, Scotland's enterprise and lifelong learning minister, has pledged an additional £5 million for Scotland's all-age careers guidance service.

Careers Scotland streamlines help previously available through more than 80 organisations.

FE unions seek parity with teachers' pay
All six further education college unions have joined forces to demand pay parity with schoolteachers by 2004.

The unions, including Natfhe, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the Association of College Managers, are demanding a pay rise, shorter pay scales and a national pay scale to give lecturers career progression opportunities equal to those of teachers.

The unions have demanded a minimum starting salary of £11,000 for all support staff and a London weighting of £4,000.

College employers' body the Association of Colleges is gathering responses before commenting.

John O'Leary appointed editor of The THES
John O'Leary, education editor of The Times and editor of The Times Good University Guide , has been appointed editor of The THES . Mr O'Leary is a former deputy editor of The THES .

He said: "The next few years are going to be exciting times for higher education and for The THES . I spent some of the most enjoyable and interesting years of my career with the paper, and it will be a privilege to come back as editor."

Place your bets on beating the bookies
University economists claim to have found a way to beat the bookies.

They investigated returns on spread bets on the number of bookings in Premier League football matches and found that money could be made where one bookmaker offered prices out of line with his competitors.

Leighton Vaughan Williams and David Paton of Nottingham Trent University presented their research to the Royal Economic Society's annual conference this week. They said a punter following their system could turn £5 into £5,000 over two years.

Correction
The web address for the Task Force on Higher Education and Society was given incorrectly at the end of the article by Henry Rosovsky ("We must make effort to level global playing field", THES , March 22). It is www.tfhe.net /

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