Today's news

April 26, 2004


Universities need A-level marks to end inequalities
Pressure is growing on ministers to order the release of individual pupils' A-level marks in the wake of research showing a widening gap between the number of state and independent school students gaining the very top scores in exams. The research, by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance - one of the country's biggest examination boards - showed that the gap would have doubled in key subjects had there been a new A* grade at A-level.
( Independent )

Warning over human tissue legislation
Lord May, president of the Royal Society, today warns the government that new legislation on human tissue could cut off "vital avenues of research" and hamper the understanding of disease. He and many other scientists believe that the legislation, even after many changes, could impose too much paperwork and smother important research.
( Guardian )

Muslim students call for sharia-friendly loans
Pressure is mounting on the Department of Education and Skills to provide a Muslim-friendly student loan. Representatives of the Federation of Student Islamic Societies met with education secretary Charles Clarke last week to discuss the problem, which affects students and their families who believe that taking out a student loan contravenes Islamic sharia law.
( Guardian )

Scientist issues ID card 'wake-up' call
The public must "wake up" to the hidden dangers of identity cards, according to the Earl of Selborne, chairman of the Royal Society's science in society committees. He said that technological advances would make it possible for ID cards to carry daily updates on people's most personal details.
( Daily Telegraph )

Exams over? Forget the celebration
Jim White laments Oxford's decidion to ban degree celebrations.
( Daily Telegraph )

Australia stakes its Asian education claim
It is not often that Australia gets the jump on the US, let alone in a multi-billion-dollar industry such as management education. But, in the growing Asian market, Australian schools have been far more willing and able to adapt to local conditions than any other country.
( Financial Times )

Stem cells offer heart treatment 'revolution'
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in the US say that injections of adult stem cells can help repair failing hearts. They presented their findings at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery conference in Toronto, Canada, yesterday.
( Daily Telegraph, Independent, Times, Guardian )

Scientists link volcanoes to winter
A survey of 300 years of volcanic activity conducted by Cambridge University scientists shows that volcanoes are most likely to erupt when it is winter in the northern hemisphere than. The research is to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research .
( Guardian )

Suburban gardens should be cut to halt traffic explosion
The large gardens and prim cul-de-sacs of suburban housing estates are being targeted by academics from the Martin Centre for architectural and urban studies at Cambridge University in an attempt to end Britain's love affair with the car. A study has found that such low-density developments increase congestion by making people more reliant on their vehicles.
( Independent )

Higher education in the weekend press:
- British undergraduates are a "loss-making venture", according to Oxford and cash-strapped universities are filling their courses with wealthy students from overseas. University. ( Sunday Times )
- Leeds Metropolitan and Huddersfield universities have admitted that they use a lottery system to choose applicants for heavily oversubscribed course. ( Sunday Times )
- Peter Lampl of the Sutton Trust restates the case for replacing A levels with aptitude tests. ( Sunday Times )
- Feature on a straight-A student who cannot find a place on a medical course. ( Mail on Sunday )
- Birmingham University is running a summer school course entitled The Technological Simpleton's Guide to Buying and Selling on eBay. ( Independent on Sunday )
- The hunt is on for a pervert at St. John's College, Oxford, after a hidden camera was discovered in a shower room. ( Times , Saturday April 24, Sunday Mirror )

Obituaries:
- Simon Walker, one of the most respected medieval historians of his generation, died of cancer on February 26, aged 46. ( Daily Telegraph )
- Colin Eaborn, pioneer of organosilicon chemistry and 'father' of chemistry at Sussex University, has died aged 81. ( Independent )

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