Today's news

January 13, 2003

Study to examine university drop-out rates
A new survey is to examine why working-class students drop out of university. The research, which will be organised by the Institute for Access Studies at Staffordshire University, is to be undertaken in consultation with ex-students, staff and members of the public across four universities - Staffordshire, Glamorgan, Ulster Coleraine and Paisley.

Think-tank attacks A-level inquiry
Hundreds of A-level candidates have been left with an inadequate explanation as to how they were given low grades for their work last summer, the rightwing think-tank Politea, claims today in its pamphlet, A-levels, Fiasco and Future . It calls for AS levels to be scrapped and an independent central body to ensure examinations are properly set and government interference in the system avoided.

Sixth-form student numbers growing
The number of students at England's 105 sixth form colleges has grown by 47 per cent since 1994 and there are now about 216,000 16- to 19-year-olds studying at them, offical figures show.

Singletons put the planet at risk
Biologists from Michigan State University and Stanford University in California report in Nature that a greater number of individual households, each containing on average fewer people, means more pressure on natural resources. Although the rate of growth in the human population is decreasing, the number of individual households is exploding.

Rebecca West's unpublished first novel found
A student from Oxford University has discovered the first novel written by Dame Rebecca West, one of the greatest women writers of the 20th century. The novel, which gives a detailed contemporary account of the suffragette movement, will be published this year, 92 years after it was written. The work, which had erroneously been catalogued as a series of correspondence, had been hidden in one of thousands of boxes in West’s archive, locked away at Tulsa University in Oklahoma.

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