Today's news

March 10, 2003

One-third of academics want to quit
Nearly one in three of Britain's university academic and teaching staff is seriously considering quitting the profession because of a growing workload and poor pay, an Association of University Teachers survey out today shows. Eight out of ten oppose top-up fees. Nearly half the academics said morale had worsened in the past two years, while an overwhelming majority complained that they suffered from work-related stress.

British students scared of foreign languages
Britain's brightest linguists are shunning university language degrees because they believe that the subject is boring and difficult and are terrified of speaking to foreigners in their languages, according to a study for the Anglo-German Foundation. Young people do not believe that a language degree will guarantee them a good job on graduation and think they could never compete with a foreigner with fluent English in the jobs market. The number of undergraduates specialising in French, German or Spanish dropped by more than 17 per cent between 1996 and 2000.

Last womens' college votes on staying single
Oxford students are fighting to preserve the status of the university's last women-only college as its dons decide this week whether to admit men. St Hilda's College has found it increasingly difficult to attract students and to recruit fellows. The governing body votes on Wednesday. The college's undergraduates have launched a campaign against the proposals, although support for the status quo has declined dramatically. Last week they voted by 57 per cent to 43 per cent in favour of keeping the college single sex. A referendum three years ago found 78 per cent in favour.

Oxford men can dance the Blues
Men at Oxford University can now dance their way to a full Blue. Ballroom dancing has been upgraded to stand alongside canoeing, cycling and modern pentathlon. Oxford women have been eligible for full Blues since 1997, but until now the men have had to make do with half Blues. Men and women in the Cambridge team can attain only half-blue status.

Interview with Oxford contender Chris Patten

Polar sea ice could be gone in 100 years
Much of the Earth's frozen north will have defrosted by the end of the century, according to the latest study of the effect of global warming on the Arctic. New measurements of the extent of sea ice around the entire North Pole show that it has reduced by about 4 per cent a decade on average over a 20-year period. If the warming trend continues, According to the Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre in Bergen, Norway, Arctic sea ice could disappear almost completely during the summer months within 100 years.

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