Today's news

July 17, 2003

Universities may require English diploma
Universities will require teenagers to hold an English baccalaureate at advanced level before they can be considered for a place under proposals to be developed by the Tomlinson Inquiry. Mr Tomlinson, head of the government-sponsored taskforce looking at reforms following last year's A-level fiasco, indicated that he would try to negotiate with vice-chancellors to make holding the new diploma a requirement in itself.
(THES, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent, Guardian)

Ministers concede grants for part-time students
Education minister Alan Johnson announced yesterday that part-time students who earn less than £14,600 would be eligible for up to £575 towards the cost of their fees. The minister also said that students whose families earned less than £15,200 would be entitled to the full grant - rather than the £10,000 promised in the white paper earlier this year. Family income of between £15,201 and £21,185 will entitle students to a partial grant. They can also apply for up to £250 towards course costs.

Plagiarism soaring as students crib from the net
Universities have reported a huge rise in plagiarism among students who take material from the internet and present it as their own. A survey of universities conducted by Radio 4's The World at One found 1,600 cases this year. Three-quarters of the 31 universities that responded to the survey, conducted by Radio 4's The World at One, said there was much more plagiarism than 10 years ago. More than 200 colleges are using specialist software that checks the student's work against 1.8 billion items of submitted material and websites.
(Daily Telegraph)

Merton retains position at top of Oxford pile
Merton has retained its position as Oxford University's top college in this year's Norrington rankings of students' degree classes. The college recorded 33 first-class degrees and 47 upper seconds to match its score of 2002. Founded in 1264, Merton has a medieval library that is the envy of other colleges and clearly believes that feeding the body matters as much as nourishing the mind - its food is regarded as among the best in Oxford.

Universities team up in enterprise push
At a time when Oxford and Cambridge are coming under fire from a Treasury-sponsored review to become more "business-like", Setsquared, a joint venture between Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey universities and private business, is aiming to set up a high-tech entrepreneurial zone in Southern England.
(Financial Times)

Solution to prostate cancer might lie in the hands
Australian scientists at the Cancer Council Victoria have found that young men who masturbate frequently are less likely to develop prostate tumours. Their study shows that the more men ejaculate between the ages of 20 and 50, the less likely they are to suffer from the most common male cancer. Masturbation, rather than sexual intercourse, is responsible for the beneficial effect, the scientists report in New Scientist.
(Times, Independent)

University robot ruled too scary
Morgui, a disembodied robot head with five senses constructed at the University of Reading, has been deemed so scary it has been banned by the university's ethics and research committee from interacting with anyone aged under 18. This poses a problem for the researchers because they cannot demonstrate the robot to visitors or potential students.

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