Today's news

May 16, 2003

Undergraduates to mark school exams
University students will be used to mark GCSE and A-level papers under government plans to tackle a shortage of examiners. Charles Clarke, the education secretary, said that the success of a pilot scheme would lead to a substantial increase in the use of undergraduate markers. A 20 per cent increase in the number of papers taken by teenagers in the past three years has left a shortage of examiners. More than 50,000 will be needed this year to handle the 24 million scripts produced from 5,000 GCSE and A-level papers. The students will earn £720 for 450 scripts (about £1.60 per paper) marked in three weeks, compared with £2.50 a paper for experienced examiners.
(Times)

King's to make business out of intellectual property
King's College London announced a landmark deal today that will see the birthplace of DNA research commercialise its intellectual property. The university has signed a joint venture with specialist IP investor IP2IPO, which will receive a 20 per cent stake in future spin-off companies and licence revenues from King's in return for providing financial backing and links to investors. The significance of the partnership lies in the potential for health-related ventures - King's runs King's College, Guys and St Thomas's hospitals in London, and is Europe's largest medical school.
(Financial Times)

Scotland's poorer students drop out due to debt fears
Fear of debt is causing many Scottish students from poorer backgrounds to drop out of university, a new report claims today. The study found that students from deprived areas were more likely to leave without a qualification, switch courses or be forced to repeat a year. The Glasgow University authors, who carried out the research on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, have called on the Scottish Executive to provide extra funding to ensure that more disadvantaged undergraduates complete their degrees.
(Times)

Detrimental effects of passive smoking challenged
Researchers from the school of public health, California University, Los Angeles, and the department of preventive medicine, State University of New York, say in the British Medical Journal today that the link between passive smoking and diseases "may be considerably weaker than generally believed". They investigated the health of husbands and wives of more than 35,500 smokers. The journal also published a commentary on the Californian study by a professor of clinical epidemiology at Bristol University, who says the researchers may have "overemphasised" the negative nature of their findings. Anti-smoking campaigners have described the paper as misleading and flawed.
(Daily Telegraph)

Laurie Lee archive bought
The British Library has acquired the archive of Laurie Lee, including the manuscript of Cider with Rosie and the tin trunk in which it was stored, from his widow Kathy, for an undisclosed sum.
(Guardian)

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