Graduates not up to the job, say firms
University students may excel academically but do not always make the best employees, according to a survey of small businesses. Too many lacked basic numeracy and literacy skills and had poor oral and time-keeping skills. "The basic educational and social skills of graduates are mediocre when it comes to being prepared for earning a living," said Len Collinson, chairman of the Forum of Private Business, which conducted the poll.
Parents cash in on student digs
House prices in university towns and cities have risen higher than the national average, according to a new survey. Rather than driving down property prices, universities and high student populations can actually increase the value of a house, a new survey from Halifax shows. And the bigger the student population, the higher the price rises. The average house price rise in the 20 areas with the greatest student population from 2000-05 was 100 per cent - far exceeding the national average of 83 per cent.
Office staff marked A-levels
Office staff at one of the three biggest exam boards were used to mark A-level exams as well as GCSEs this summer after suffering a shortage of examiners triggered in part by the introduction of an online marking system. Two other boards yesterday confirmed that they had also employed non-teaching clerical staff to mark some GCSE papers.
Scientists sidestep stem cell dispute
US scientists have fused a human embryo stem cell and a scrap of adult skin to make cells that could become almost any tissue in the human body. In doing so, they claim to have created a new tool for research, confirmed hopes of new ways of treating hitherto intractable human diseases - and sidestepped a bitter controversy.
The Guardian , The Times , The Independent
Pro-GM scientist to give TV lectures
One of Britain's most provocative scientists, who has been accused of protecting the biotech food industry and has dismissed organic produce as "an image-led fad", will give the televised BBC Christmas science lectures, which are aimed at children and young adults. Professor Sir John Krebs, who was appointed by the government in 2000 to be the first head of the independent Food Standards Agency, will devote the Royal Institution lectures to the subject of food.
Cholesterol drug offers new hope in asthma battle
A heart drug used to lower blood cholesterol is being harnessed by Glasgow University scientists to fight the effects of asthma. The team of researchers headed by Professor Neil Thomson, the UK's leading asthma expert, are preparing to begin a trial on the statin group of drugs to test their ability to control the impact of the potentially lethal condition, which affects 390,000 people in Scotland alone, 100,000 of whom are children.
Scientists prove why accountants are boring
The caricature of accountants as boring has been given a scientific basis by researchers who say the language they use and the environment in which they work are, frankly, grey. The study from the City University of Hong Kong said that the "dull and uninspired, jargon-heavy language", including such words and phrases as "holdover" and "provisional tax liability", is partly responsible for their dusty image.