Today's news

June 21, 2004

Learn for sake of learning, says Archbishop
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, yesterday called on universities to revert to their centuries-old tradition of learning for learning's sake, arguing that education had more purposes than simply equipping people to make a profit for their future employers. Dr Williams, a former professor of divinity at Oxford, was preaching the university's annual Commemoration Day sermon at the church of St Mary the Virgin.
( Times )

Tories set to change university policy
The Conservatives are expected to change their policy again on university funding, promoting US-style endowment funds to channel private and business contributions. The party is considering reverting to its original opposition to tuition fees, a policy set by Iain Duncan Smith from which Michael Howard distanced himself.
( Financial Times )

Anger over US fees for student screening
US universities stung by falling applications from foreign students are seeking to block a proposed government system for collecting security screening fees from international students. The Department of Homeland Security is weeks away from finalising a rule governing how a $100 (£54) security fee will be collected. Universities are mounting a last-minute lobbying effort to change the proposed system, which would require international students to pay the fee with a credit card or a cheque in US dollars. Tightened visa rules have been blamed for a 32 per cent decline in graduate student applications to US universities this year.
( Financial Times )

Stem cell centre to give UK world lead
A £16.5 million robotic laboratory is to be built for turning human embryo cells into treatments, notably for diabetes and Parkinson's disease, the Medical Research Council announced today. Roger Pedersen, who will be director of the research institute at the University of Cambridge, said that no other stem-cell institute would be able to match its scale or expertise in an area of science that could revolutionise the treatment of incurable diseases.
( Daily Telegraph, Independent, Guardian ) 

Archaeological breakthrough at Stonehenge
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a "band of brothers" who they believe helped to transport giant bluestones from the Preseli mountains in West Wales to build Stonehenge more than 4,000 years ago. It is the first time that an apparent direct link between the remains of any individual and the people who created the mysterious monument has been established.
( Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail )

London Zoo sperm bank to save rare cats
Hopes have been raised for the future of three endangered species of big cat, after London Zoo announced the creation of a sperm bank and launched a worldwide appeal for donations. The project has been set up in response to the decline in numbers of the Amur (or Siberian) tiger, Amur leopard and Sumatran tiger.
( Independent )

Higher education items in the weekend press
- Alan Smithers, professor of education, is to move his research department from Liverpool University to the private Buckingham University. ( Guardian , June 19)
- Universities and colleges will have to pay to go on a register in order to curb student visa abuse. ( Times , 19 June)
- A poll of over 4,000 US students has revealed a negative image of Britain as a nation and a place to study. ( Times , June 19)
- Muslim students are finding their political voice. ( Guardian , June 19)
- 140 universities are considering adopting a system that will detect plagiarism. ( Observer )
- Michael Howard has said that the Tories will axe tuition fees. ( Sunday Times )
- Student debt is blighting exam performance. ( Mail on Sunday )

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