Today's news

July 26, 2004

Graduate flood 'will lead to crisis over jobs'
The massive expansion of universities is turning degrees into "lottery tickets" that offer graduates no guarantee of a good job, the Government has been warned. Academics at Warwick and Oxford universities say the drive to get 50 per cent of young people into higher education poses potentially devastating risks for the economy. Ken Mayhew and Ewart Keep, director and deputy director of the Research Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, predict that many graduates face disillusionment because there will not be enough well-paid jobs to repay the debts they accumulate at university.

Middle-class professionals are Britain's hidden poor
The plight of Britain's hidden poor - middle class professionals who have slipped down the social scale - is highlighted in a report published today by the Elizabeth Finn Trust. The trust says that 3.8 million people, 14 per cent of the country's professional classes, are living on incomes below the poverty line. A major problem for some of the group identified by the charity is their lack of formal educational qualifications "in an increasingly meritocratic society" where "who you know" is no longer a guarantee of financial or social status.

Government blamed for 'mickey mouse' courses
The Government's determination to get half of young people to go to university is driving the growth of "mickey mouse" degrees in subjects such as surfing, a teachers' leader said yesterday. Hobbies were not worthy of being turned into subjects for serious academic study, said Peter Morris, a Professional Association of Teachers' official. He cited the Surf and Beach Management BA offered by Swansea Institute of Higher Education.
Guardian, Daily Telegraph

Pilates degree announced
Fitness enthusiasts will soon be able to study Pilates as a university degree. The University of East London has launched a new BSc honours degree in complimentary therapy, focussing on the popular body-conditioning syste.

Don't drop classics, exam board urged
The Government has called on the country's biggest examination board to reconsider its plans to abandon GCSEs and A levels in Latin and Greek. Stephen Twigg, the Schools Minister, demanded a rethink after advising the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance that it risked putting pupils in state schools at a particular disadvantage.

Britain may bar US animal rights 'zealot'
A US animal rights extremist who advocates killing scientists was threatened yesterday with being banned from Britain by David Blunkett. Plans to bar Jerry Vlasak, an adviser to Britain's leading animal rights groups, come as the Home Secretary is to announce new measures this week for dealing with extremist protesters. The growing threat from a hard core of militants has forced more than a quarter of Britain's biggest businesses to ask for the addresses of directors to be removed from public records as they fear being attacked at their homes.
Times, Daily Mail, Financial Times, Guardian

'Remarkable' student passes degree after losing memory
A student who lost 21 years of her memory because of a severe brain disease has gained a degree in psychology, it emerged yesterday. Academics at Lancaster University said Leanne Walker's 2.1 degree was a "remarkable" achievement and is planning to publish a detailed account of how she overcame her memory loss.

Final blossoming of the secret garden
For the fourth time in its 120-year-history, the University of Bristol's botanic garden is about to up stakes, shrubs and seedlings and move. English Heritage said it regrets the university's decision, but has no power to intervene since no planning application has been made for the garden and it is only listed as Grade 2.

USS chief talks about his role
Sir Graeme Davies, vice-chancellor of the University of London, talks about chairing the Universities' pension scheme.
Financial Times

Aston beefs up to the tune of £22m
Aston Business School in the UK is investing £22 million in new buildings and at its central Birmingham location. A five-storey extension which will include lecture theatres for MBAs, facilities for corporate clients and a conference centre is due to be finished at the end of next year.
Financial Times

High hopes for new insurance university
Cass Business School in London and the UK's Chartered Insurance Institute have joined forces to develop what they describe as an "insurance university". The two institutions believe the joint venture will become an internationally recognised centre of excellence for education and post-graduate qualifications in insurance.
Financial Times

Higher education items in the weekend press
- Feature about Sir Muir Russell, principal of Glasgow University. Scotland on Sunday - Scots universities threatened by plan to turn degree courses in to HNDs. Scotland on Sunday
- Richard Lynn, a professor of psychology at the University of Ulster, has expressed the controversial opinion that men are cleverer than women. Mail on Sunday
- Hundreds of thousands of students going to university in September will have to wait for their loans due to technical errors. Sunday Express

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