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March 19, 2002

Smart card backed for Scots lifelong learners
A lifelong learning "smart card", backed by funding equivalent to that for a four-year degree, to be used throughout an individual's life, has been recommended by the Scottish Parliament's enterprise and lifelong learning committee. The committee believes its interim report is the first step towards a national lifelong learning strategy.

Universities reluctant to open door to poor
Tuition fees and student loans penalise the poor and benefit the wealthy in higher education, according to a report for vice-chancellors. The Social Class and Participation report, launched today by Universities UK, reveals that some universities fear that opening the door to people from low-income backgrounds risks "dumbing down" academic standards or damaging their reputations.

Compensation claim staked by ILA 'victims'
Learning providers have written to prime minister Tony Blair demanding compensation for their loss of earnings in the wake of the individual learning accounts fiasco. The letter, signed by more than 1,000 providers, is written by Roger Tuckett, who set up a non-profit learning centre last June but was forced to close it down in December.

Call for Lords debate on GMO benefits
Former agriculture minister Baroness Hayman called for more public funding for research into genetically modified crops in a House of Lords debate last night. She said: "The debate in this country on GM crops has been disproportionately focused on the risks rather than on the potential benefits."

Two-semester model adopted at Dundee
Dundee University's court has voted to divide the academic year into two semesters rather than three terms as at present. The court said this will help students who want to mix and match courses and degrees, both within Dundee and with other universities.

Beijing University makes biggest award
The University of Beijing has made the largest ever financial award by any Chinese university to an individual. It has given 5 million yuan (£434,000) to Wang Xuan, known as "the father of Chinese language laser typesetting", for inventing a system that allows Chinese characters to be electronically transferred to type.

   

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