Today's news

November 24, 2004

City law firms must wipe out Oxbridge bias, minister says
City law firms must take steps to eliminate persistent discrimination in favour of Oxbridge graduates, David Lammy, the Minister for Constitutional Affairs, said yesterday. A paper published by the Department for Constitutional Affairs shows that Oxbridge law graduates are 16 times more likely to find jobs in City law firms than those from new universities. At the same time, graduates from new universities - who include more ethnic minority students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds - are five times more likely than Oxbridge graduates to end up in high-street firms on lower rates of pay. Mr Lammy -a barrister who read law at London and Harvard -said there was some good news in that figures showed slightly more than 25 per cent or 2,620 students studying for a law degree were from black or ethnic minorities. But the figures also showed that just under 8 per cent of solicitors with practising certificates in 2003 were from an ethnic minority background.
The Times

What's the rush to go to university?
A growing number of school leavers are putting off higher education. Something is afoot in middle England. Middle-class teenagers seem to be deciding that it is not cool to go to university straight from school. Not only has the proportion of 18-year-olds going to university dropped, it has dropped most in places such as Wokingham, Berkshire and Bromley, Kent, the universities' traditional breeding grounds.
Daily Telegraph

Work-based training gets mixed report
Work-based learning and adult education will receive a mixed report from the government's chief inspector of adult learning. David Sherlock will say in his annual report that the standard of work-based training in England has improved but that some of those learners with the greatest needs are not being well-served. The report is set against a backdrop of skills shortages and a push to reskill older workers who are on incapacity benefit or unemployed.
Financial Times

Benefit extended to teenagers on training courses
The extension of child benefit to 16 to 19-year-olds who want to learn job skills will correct an injustice in the benefits system. At present the benefit is available between the ages of 16 and 18 only if a person remains in full-time education. The Bill, expected in January, will extend it to school-leavers in vocational training or in low-paid or unpaid placements that offer training. Teenagers will continue to qualify until they complete their education or course and will not lose the benefit on their 19th birthday. The reform, worth £16.50 a week for the first child and £11 a week for others, is the first measure from the Government's review of policy on 16 to 19-year-olds.
The Times

Tiny carbon cylinders set record
A British research team has made it into the record books by creating the smallest "test tubes" known to science. Materials scientists from Oxford and Nottingham universities performed chemical reactions inside tiny tubes of carbon atoms known as nanotubes. Essentially, these are sheets of graphite an atom thick that are folded back on themselves to form cylinders. They were used to force molecules into long straight chains, reports the journal Chemical Communications .
BBC News Online

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