Today's news

January 30, 2003

Access debate moves to schools
Poor secondary education rather than discrimination by universities is the main reason why fewer children from poor backgrounds go on to higher education, Tony Blair said yesterday. In words that will delight universities nervous about plans for a new access regulator, the prime minister said the "absolute key thing in improving the number of people from all social groups going to university is to improve school standards". Earlier, the Russell group of elite universities released a statement praising the government's white paper as "a welcome step in the future development of higher education in England". But the group played down the idea of a radical change in its approach to access.
(Financial Times)

University rule change sought after Israel row
The results of an inquiry for the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology say that Mona Baker, professor of translation studies, was entitled to remove two academics at Israeli universities from the boards of two journals she owns and edits with her husband. However, the inquiry team, headed by lawyer Peter Norbury called for a "thorough review" of university statutes relating to academics' participation in outside activities "in order to identify any potential risk to Umist's reputation".

Graduate tax would cost £1bn a year
Education secretary Charles Clarke has sought to stamp out growing backbench clamour for a university graduate tax favoured by his colleague Gordon Brown, by revealing that it would have involved an extra 3p in the pound on income tax over 25 years. In an article in the leftwing Tribune magazine tomorrow, Mr Clarke defends his decision not to introduce such a tax - which he admits was his preference - in favour of a new system of deferred but higher tuition fees.

Charles Rodway Clarke's century
The education secretary's first 100 days in office assessed.

Harry Potter will fund boy's university future
An enterprising schoolboy from Glenrothes, Fife, is selling his signed first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to help to pay his way through university. He expects to make more than £1,500 from the auction of the hardback, which is in mint condition. Although he still has at least three years to go before he starts university, he decided to sell the book immediately. On average Scottish students finish with debts of £12,000.

Nottingham in technology venture
Nottingham University is launching a technology transfer unit, Nottingham Technology Ventures, next week in an attempt to improve its links with the local business community. (Financial Times)

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