News in brief

January 12, 2012

United States

We can't all be Frank Lloyd Wright

Students in architecture and the arts are among the most likely to struggle to find work after graduating, according to a US study. Unemployment among such graduates was more than 50 per cent higher in some areas than among students with science degrees, The Washington Post reported. The study, by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, found the highest rates of unemployment among students with degrees in architecture (13.9 per cent), arts (11.1 per cent) and humanities (9.4 per cent), based on 2009 and 2010 data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. In contrast, those with degrees in health and education were least likely to be unemployed (5.4 per cent), with agriculture and natural resources graduates at 7 per cent.


'Deficient' institutions may close

An Ecuadorian education authority is considering closing 26 "deficient" universities. The Board of Assessment, Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education has given the institutions until April to improve in areas such as infrastructure and teaching, Prensa Latina reported. The universities involved were placed in the bottom category when audited by the National Council of Assessment and Accreditation in 2009. Guillaume Long, the board's president, said 80 experts will visit the failing institutions this month to evaluate them before the council delivers the final report in April. Any institution that does not pass will be suspended and then wound up. Between them, the universities educate 47,000 students, accounting for about 9 per cent of Ecuador's student population. Contingency plans are being drawn up to ensure that students are not left in the lurch if their university is closed.


Cure needed for doctor shortage

A government committee has said that India needs to create 29,000 student places in medicine to remedy a severe shortage of doctors. The Standing Committee on Health also called for 30 new public medical colleges and the expansion of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, The Times of India reported. The panel recommends adding 18,000 undergraduate and 11,000 postgraduate places over the next five years. This would take the number of places in medicine to 66,000 and 31,000, respectively. Although India produces about 30,000 doctors annually, the report notes the "geographic and rural-urban imbalance (that) exists in training and availability of human resource". It adds: "Medical colleges are unevenly spread across the states with disparities in the quality of education."


Going the distance

An Australian university has announced a A$2.3 million (£1.5 million) collaboration with an education company to boost participation in a rural part of the country. Swinburne University of Technology and Mansfield Adult Continuing Education plan to raise university attendance in the north-east of Victoria - home to many remote communities - from 25 per cent to nearer the state average of 41 per cent, The Australian reported. Swinburne will use a state grant to develop the U2Uni programme, an online learning model that will give students in regional communities remote access to tertiary education. Students will be able to choose from a range of diploma courses, then proceed to associate degrees, and bachelor's degrees.

United States

Nothing for their Troubles

A federal appeals court has blocked a district judge's order that a US institution hand academic documents relating to the Troubles in Northern Ireland to the British government. According to The Boston Globe, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit halted the decision ordering Boston College to provide interview records of Dolours Price, a former member of the Provisional IRA. The documents are being sought as part of an investigation into the death of a civilian who disappeared during the Troubles and whose body was found in 2003. Two researchers from the project that catalogued the records - involving former IRA members Anthony McIntyre and Ed Moloney - appealed against the ruling, arguing that it would endanger Mr McIntyre and reopen "politically sensitive wounds". They added that disclosure could violate academic freedom and hamper the work of oral historians.

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