News in brief

March 15, 2002

'Lower expectations', Chinese warned
The British Council has said that Chinese students and their parents need to be better informed about higher education courses in the United Kingdom.

The comments come after an article appeared in the Chinese newspaper Guangming Daily warning that students and their parents have unrealistic expectations of the likely earnings of business studies and IT graduates returning to China after studying in the UK. Many find themselves on a much lower salary than anticipated or out of work, it claims.

Michael O'Sullivan, British Council director in China, said that promoting UK higher education in China must involve online information services in Chinese, training of Chinese agents and advice to UK institutions on how to match students to the right courses.

Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that the number of Chinese students recruited by UK universities and colleges has grown from 2,858 in 1997-98 to 10,332 in 2000-01.

E-tutoring survival guides go online
A set of simple survival guides for academics experimenting with e-tutoring is available on the web. The four-part starter packs, which go online this week, are designed to make course designers aware that the web is more than just a dumping ground for lecture notes.

The guides were devised by the Learning and Teaching Support Network and the Association for Learning Technology.

A series of workshops on e-tutoring issues is scheduled for staff at the 24 LTSN subject centres based in universities throughout the United Kingdom.

The guides can be downloaded at .

Sociologists reveal the history of Irish racism
Two Ulster University sociologists have revealed a "hidden history" of Ireland's links with other races that they believe helps to explain current racism.

Bill Rolston, who with Michael Shannon published the book Encounters: How Racism came to Ireland, said many people were baffled by current racism, arguing that Ireland had never been involved in the slave trade or had an empire. But the research showed that while the Irish had not shipped slaves, they were involved in providing provisions for slave ships and trading with the Caribbean.

"We never had an empire, but we were deeply implicated in running somebody else's."

Thousands of Irish people emigrated to America, where they learnt quickly that owning slaves and engaging in racist practices were the passport to being considered white, Professor Rolston said.

Scottish enterprise scheme wins £5.5m
A Scottish scheme to turn researchers into entrepreneurs has won £5.5 million to continue for another five years.

Some 24 researchers have already become enterprise fellows under the initiative, which aims to help them develop spin-off companies by offering industrial mentoring and entrepreneurial training. Another 80 fellowships will now be created.

The scheme focuses on onoptoelectronics, biotechnology, energy software, e-commerce, forestry, food, tourism and the creative media. It is funded by the national development agency Scottish Enterprise and run by the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Scots students launch new lobby group
A new student lobby group has been launched amid acrimony and accusations of dirty tricks by the National Union of Students Scotland.

The Coalition of Higher Education Students in Scotland (Chess), whose members include the students' associations of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Strathclyde universities, said it represented more than a third of students in Scottish higher education and wanted to campaign on specific higher education issues.

It denied setting itself up in competition to NUS Scotland.

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