Today's news

December 9, 2002

University chief says students must pay own way
Students should be treated as adults and made to bear the cost of their own degree courses, Eric Thomas, vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol, said yesterday. Professor Thomas said that the parental link to student contributions should be severed and teenagers persuaded to make a personal investment in their futures by borrowing to pay for their education. His intervention is particularly significant because Bristol has put itself at the head of efforts to widen access to students from working-class families. Other leading universities are likely to follow Bristol’s example.

Britons turn to Australia for study and fun
Students are increasingly deserting Britain's drizzly campuses for the sunshine of Australia, according to the director of the British branch of IDP Education, which lures British school-leavers to Australia. The number of undergraduate students down under has risen 44 per cent this year. Although courses cost between £3,000 and £8,000 in Australia, this is offset by a cost of living one-third that of Britain.

Hodge calls for a change of attitude
(Financial Times guide to lifelong learning)

German envoy says UK history teaching stokes xenophobia
The German ambassador has attacked history teaching in British schools, claiming it fuels xenophobia by focusing solely on his country's Nazi past. Thomas Matussek's comments follow an assault on two German schoolboys by a gang of youths in London. The newly appointed ambassador also criticised the media, but expressed serious concern that British schoolchildren were not taught about modern German democracy.

Buoys plumb depths for weather forecasts
A £40 million network of 3,000 diving robotic buoys is set to help meteorologists make long-range weather forecasts. While precise weather events will remain almost impossible to predict beyond ten days, the ocean data will identify tendencies in temperature or overall precipitation over much longer periods of time than has been possible to date. The floating weather stations, each the size of a fire extinguisher, have already indicated a good chance of a white Christmas.

Coffee can brew anxiety
German and American scientists reveal today that people who become anxious after a cup of coffee may be suffering a genetic reaction to caffeine. The researchers table their findings at an American College of Neuropsychopharmacology meeting in Puerto Rico today.

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