Today's news

May 24, 2005

Academics may end Israel boycott
Academics are holding an emergency conference this week to discuss the controversial boycott of Israeli universities, amid growing support for the original decision to be overturned. The Association of University Teachers voted last month to cut links with Haifa and Bar Ilan universities, which they claimed were complicit in the abuse of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The decision led to an angry international backlash and AUT members opposed to the vote have mobilised support in Europe, the US and the Middle East ahead of Thursday's pivotal meeting in London.
The Guardian

Graduates 'will not work to 70' under pensions plan
The Government will give the first indication of its plans for pensions next month but has ruled out graduates being made to work until 70. The idea came from former CBI director general Adair Turner, who is working on a report on the pensions crisis and how to solve it, which is set to be published in the autumn. But on June 21, new Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett will make a statement to the House of Commons which aims to "steer" the Turner Commission in the direction of specific proposals, not generalities.
The Scotsman, The Times, The Evening Standard

Oxford seeks £10m for executive school
As the pace of technological change poses ever more challenging questions for media executives, Oxford University's Saïd Business School is hoping to provide the answers. Professor Anthony Hopwood, dean of the school, is seeking £10 million to launch a centre that he believes is vital for the UK and Europe to stay competitive in the global media economy.
The Guardian

New College of Law for City of London
A £30 million College of Law centre is to open in the City of London for more than 1,000 students in July next year. The Moorgate centre, which complements the college’s existing Bloomsbury base in Store Street, will be the largest law school in the City of London. It will focus on providing corporate training programmes, including the specific course the college has developed with three of the “magic circle” firms — Linklaters, Clifford Chance and Allen & Overy.
The Times

Cambridge in big push for cash
Cambridge University is about to launch an American-style "Ivy League" fund-raising drive - the biggest in its history - to raise hundreds of millions of pounds to finance its activities into the next century and help return its accounts to the black. The lengthy campaign to celebrate Cambridge's 800th anniversary in 2009 will be officially launched by the vice-chancellor, Professor Alison Richard, this September in London and Cambridge before a series of events in New York, San Francisco and China.
The Guardian

Elite education still rules the law
Senior judges, barristers and solicitors are still overwhelmingly educated at private schools and top universities despite rigorous efforts to widen access to professions in the law, a survey indicates. The situation has changed little over 15 years and, in some respects, it is intensifying, with more young lawyers coming from privileged backgrounds, according to the survey. The research was undertaken by the Sutton Trust, which was established to improve access to higher education.
The Times

It's all about moving targets
Targets and percentages have been on the mind of the Education Secretary, Ruth Kelly, with signs that the Government may be cooling off on its pledge to get 50 per cent of young people into higher education by 2010. The target of getting 50 per cent of 18 to 30-year-olds into higher education was set at the Labour Party conference in 1999. But Kelly questions whether 30 is a good cut-off point and casts doubt on the usefullness of such targets.
The Times, The Times Higher Education Supplement (May 20)

Cutbacks threaten adult classes
Thousands of adult education classes will be cancelled in September because the Government has diverted funds to teenagers who fail at school, college principals said yesterday. Courses that remain will be more expensive and there will be less opportunity for adults to join them midway through the year, they said. As Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, attended the launch of Adult Learners' Week in London, the Association of Colleges accused her of presiding over a "shambles". Colleges are having to shred prospectuses because they cannot afford to run a full range of courses, it said.
The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Guardian

Research at your fingertips
Social science research will become more accessible and reach new audiences after the launch of a website by the Economic and Social Research Council. “Many of the biggest challenges facing us in the 21st century are social science issues,” says Ian Diamond, the chief executive of the ESRC. The site provides “plain-English” summaries of research papers from the UK and overseas covering a range of social and economic issues that range from crime, education and the environment to pensions and productivity.
The Times

Giant leap for the 'secret of long life'
Scotland is at the forefront of potentially the biggest scientific revolution since Watson and Crick discovered the "secret of life", DNA, in 1953. Let's call it the search for the "secret of long life". If a group of scientists, led by the Dolly the Sheep creator, Professor Ian Wilmut, at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, is successful, conditions such as motor neurone disease will become much better understood and possibly even cured, using stem-cell therapy.
The Scotsman

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