Today's news

May 26, 2005

Britain rejects pleas on visa cost
The British government is to press ahead with plans to increase the cost of visas for overseas students studying in the UK despite claims by universities that it will reduce their international competitiveness. After attending a meeting of university representatives Tony McNulty, the Home Office minister responsible for immigration, said British universities should not compete by trying to offer the lowest price. "It has never been our intention that Britain should opt for the low cost option. It has always been our position that we should compete on the basis of quality."
The Financial Times

Chemists protest over degree 'dumbing down'
The professional body for chemists is threatening to withdraw accreditation from a university degree course after the pass mark was lowered from 40 per cent to 26 per cent for first-year students. The decision by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain to hold an inquiry into the possible dumbing down of academic standards on the pharmacy course at De Montfort University, Leicester, follows complaints from external examiners that the marks of weak students were increased by up to 14 per cent last June.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement (March 18)

Students 'upset' by interview treatment
More than 65 per cent of university students applying for their first job were "upset by the way they were treated by potential employers and shocked at their poor graduate recruitment practices", according to a study published today. The findings have emerged as students are concerned there will be insufficient highly paid jobs to satisfy the aspirations of a growing graduate population.
The Financial Times

Lecturers to go second round on Israeli boycott
Members of the Association of University Teachers are meeting in London today to vote for a second time on whether to boycott Israeli universities. The AUT caused uproar around the world when its members voted to boycott Bar-Ilan and Haifa Universities at its conference last month. The institutions are accused of being complicit in the abuse of Palestinians in the occupied territories, something both have strenuously denied. Haifa University has now issued legal proceedings against the AUT.
The Guardian, The Independent

Scottish university leads the way with a supercomputer
A new "supercomputer" capable of processing one trillion instructions per second is to be built in Scotland. Technology experts from across the world and academics from the University of Edinburgh joined together for the project's launch in the capital yesterday.
The Scotsman

A plethora of jobs
Little more than a third of this year's new graduates expect to find a job after university - one of the lowest results recorded by the annual UK Graduate Careers Survey. Just one student in six questioned thought there were enough graduate jobs available for those leaving university this summer.
The Independent

Gardeners who use pesticides 'have higher Parkinson's risk'
Farmers and amateur gardeners who are exposed to pesticides run a higher risk of developing Parkinson's disease, researchers said yesterday. Scientists found that heavy exposure to pesticides increased the chances of developing Parkinson's by almost 50 per cent.
The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, New Scientist

Deep sea bacterium 'could be used in superbug war'
A bacterium which kills MRSA and could be developed into a weapon against the superbug has been found hundreds of metres below the sea, scientists said today. Microbiologists from the Universities of Kent and Newcastle have been investigating samples taken from sediments across the world’s sea beds.
The Scotsman

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