Today's news

February 24, 2004


Universities to be fined if they snub poor students
Universities will face fines of up to £500,000 if they fail to stick to agreements to take in more working-class students. The threat emerged last night as the education secretary Charles Clarke published details of how its new "access tsar" - designed to get disadvantaged groups into higher education - would work. The regulations state that - in extreme circumstances - universities would be fined for failing to stick to agreements by the new Office for Fair Access.
( Independent, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Times, Guardian, Financial Times )

Plan to waive fee for maths degree
Students could have their university fees waived if they take a mathematics degree to help reverse a crisis in the subject in schools, colleges and universities, a government report by Adrian Smith, principal of Queen Mary College, University of London, says today. The 180-page report calls for drastic action costing around £100 million a year to tackle the more than one in four lessons taught by under-qualified teachers and a 20 per cent slump in numbers taking A-level maths.
( Guardian )

Scots plan visa to attract graduates
A package of "special measures" designed to encourage thousands of new migrants to Scotland will be announced this week. Jack McConnell, first minister, is to outline a series of proposals designed to reverse the country's population decline to the Scottish parliament tomorrow. He gave strong hints yesterday that these would include the creation of a new "Scottish visa" to allow overseas students to stay after graduation beyond the currently permissible six months.
( Financial Times )

Researcher quits lab to earn more fitting boilers
A molecular biologist is to abandon his academic career for a better paid job as a gas fitter. Karl Gensberg, 41, has been a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Birmingham for 13 years but says he can no longer afford to work on short-term contracts in the education sector. Dr Gensberg, who earns £23,000, believes that unless conditions in the profession improve, more academics will be forced to follow suit. He knows of two other colleagues who have left Birmingham, one to run a boarding house in France. The other is considering joining the Royal Mail.
( Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail )

Wolf allegations rejected by Yale
Yale University sought yesterday to brush off claims by feminist author Naomi Wolf that it ignored allegations of sexual misconduct. Unnamed sources indicated that senior Yale officials are incensed that an alleged 20-year-old incident has been turned into a public embarrassment.
( Daily Telegraph )

Spitting student falls to death
A Canadian student fell 11 storeys to his death during a spitting contest on his 20th birthday, police in Ottawa said yesterday. The Ottawa-Carleton University student was drinking with friends when he took a running start in an attempt to spit the farthest off a balcony and fell over the railing to his death.
( Daily Telegraph )

Rag student sues police
A student who broke his leg and pelvis when he fell after being told by police to get off a float during Cheltenham and Gloucester University rag week in 1999 is claiming compensation from the force. Matthew Halstead, 23, who had thrown water at the police, was left with a limp.
( Times )

Today, in the bad old days
Surely it can't be legal for lecturers to be ousted when they reach a certain age? The case of Dinah Warnock, who is taking the University of Southampton to an industrial tribunal.
( Guardian )

The mission: admissions
Brunel University vice-chancellor Steven Schwartz explains why he wants as many students to go to university as possible.
( Guardian )

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