Today's news

April 16, 2002

Pay rise needed to halt science shortages
Britain faces a collapse in the number of scientists unless the government increases substantially the salaries of young academics, science and mathematics lecturers in particular, concludes a report for the government. The review of science, technology engineering and maths education by Sir Gareth Roberts, president of Wolfson College, Oxford, highlighted chronic shortages in funding and supply in schools and universities. (The Financial Times, The Independent, The Times)

Paulin's remarks cause disquiet
Academics at Oxford University expressed disquiet over an interview in which the poet Tom Paulin, a lecturer at Hertford College, allegedly said that all US-born settlers in Israel should be shot. Hertford College said: "The principal and fellows have read the statements allegedly made by Mr Paulin … and dissociate themselves from any apparently racist comments attributed to Mr Paulin… ." (The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph)

Universities to be allowed to fail, Hodge says
A number of universities will disappear over the next ten years as the government removes the safety net for institutions that do not attract enough students, higher education minister Margaret Hodge has said. Others will expand to teach the extra students needed to reach the government's 50 per cent participation target. (The Guardian)

Army of ants crosses Europe
Argentine ants have formed a 3,000-mile network of nests and tunnels stretching from the Italian riveria to northwest Spain. The billions of ants in the supercolony are described as the largest cooperative unit in the world by researchers from the University of Lausanne, Universitie Paris-Sud and the University of Copenhagen writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . (The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times)

Ireland still suffers class divide
A report on university access in Ireland shows that huge class disparities remain though nearly half the country's school-leavers go on to higher education. (The Guardian)

Higher education faces racial equality challenges
Universities have an uphill struggle to meet new policies to ensure that the selection of students and the appointment and promotion of staff do not discriminate against people from particular racial backgrounds. (The Guardian)

The price of grants
Conor Ryan, special adviser to David Blunkett when he was education secretary, considers the government's options on tuition fees and grants for university students. (The Daily Mail)

Add calculators to primary equation
Ofsted has said that teachers are failing to emphasise the importance of calculators in daily maths lessons for ten and 11-year old children because of emphasis on mental arithmetic (The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Times)    

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