From today's UK papers

February 5, 2002

Schools really are better, says Ofsted
Tony Blair has ordered cabinet ministers to take lessons from education on improving public services as evidence is published today showing that schools are improving. The annual report of Ofsted, the education watchdog, will say that nine in ten schools have improved since its inspections started in 1992, and that classroom standards have never been better. (Times)

Backing for college GCSEs
Government plans to place thousands of 14-year-olds in colleges to study vocational GCSEs have won support from the further education sector. Almost 300 further education colleges and some sixth-form colleges have applied to run one of the eight courses under a £38 million pilot scheme. (Financial Times)

British scientists turn on GM food
The potential health effects of genetically modified foods should be rigorously investigated before allowing them into baby food or to be marketed to pregnant or breast feeding women, the elderly, and those with chronic disease, the Royal Society said yesterday. (Guardian, Financial Times, Independent)

GM superweed spells wildlife disaster
The spread of highly resistant "superweeds" in one of the world's most important bread baskets is being blamed on genetically modified crops. According to English Nature, British scientists have documented more than a dozen cases of weeds in the heartland of the Canadian prairies that are immune to three leading brands of weedkiller. (Independent)

Global warming threatens Australia's habitats
Many of Australia's unique animals and diverse ecosystems could disappear before the end of this century because of global warming, a study by Climate Action Network Australia warned yesterday. (Guardian, Independent)

Protests at Belgian prince's award
Belgium's oldest university at Leuven has awarded Crown Prince Philippe an honorary doctorate for his "contribution to world peace", although 250 professors signed a letter saying he lacked the credentials for the title. (Independent)

Open all hours
The Open University is undergoing a boom as 18-year-olds discover they can study for a degree without going into debt - just as Margaret Thatcher predicted… (Guardian)

Clever folk
David Ward joins pioneers as they play and sing their way through England's first degree in folk music (Guardian)

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