Today's news

November 9, 2005

£40m to attract part-time students
The Government today announced £40 million over the next two academic years to improve provision for part-time courses, in an effort to encourage people from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to university. The Department for Education and Skills and the Higher Education Funding Council for England have each provided £20 million for the scheme. There are currently around 500,000 part-time students in British higher education - who are more likely to be mature students, from poorer backgrounds, or combining study with work or a family.
The Guardian, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Nov 4)

Online studies net university Indian scholars
More than 2000 students in the Indian city of Delhi have signed up to internet-based courses offered by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The innovative Scholar scheme is run by Heriot-Watt, Scottish Enterprise, the Interactive University and Delhi Public School, which Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen saw recently.
The Scotsman

Venus probe blasts into space
A European-built probe has blasted into space in a bid to explore Earth's mysterious neighbour, Venus. The Venus Express mission, the first probe to visit the planet in 15 years, was launched by a Russian rocket at 3.33am UK time. It set off on a five-month, 26 million mile journey in which scientists hope to find clues that will help in their understanding of climate change on Earth. Venus - the closest planet to Earth and similar in size and mass - is an example of what happens to a world gripped by runaway global warming.
The Daily Telegraph

'Schools are irrelevant in a world of digital media'
Schools are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the modern child as a result of their failure to embrace the digital media, a leading expert on youth culture will warn in a lecture tonight. ''Compared with the complex multi-media experiences some children have outside school, much classroom work is bound to appear unexciting,'' Professor David Buckingham, head of the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media at London University's Institute of Education will say.
The Independent

Expert calls for statement on teaching of history
A leading academic today demands a statement from the Executive on the future of history in schools. Professor Tom Devine, widely viewed as Scotland's top historian, says suggestions by Peter Peacock, the education minister, that the subject may not be offered as a stand-alone in the first two years of secondary are "an educational disgrace". Mr Peacock has said the curriculum review being carried out could see history being taught as part of other subjects.
The Scotsman

Fatty-fish food makes for brainier seabirds
Young seabirds that do not eat enough fat are slow learners and are less likely to grow into successful adult birds, according to a new study. The finding could explain some of the dramatic declines seen in seabird colonies during the past 30 years, where climate change or human interference has reduced the number of fatty fish for the birds to feed on. Alexander Kitaysky, from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and his colleagues monitored the development of 20 red-legged kittiwakes, born in captivity.
The Guardian, New Scientist

Rat study helps scientists catch up with the Atkins diet
Finally, a scientific explanation for why eating endless steaks on the Atkins diet helps people lose weight: the masses of extra protein send messages to the brain to stop eating. "The current findings provide an answer to the question of how protein-enriched meals decrease hunger and reduce eating, unsolved up to now," said the researchers in a paper published today in Cell Metabolism.
The Guardian

People
Sir Kenneth Dover is to retire as chancellor of St Andrews University on 31 December. He took up the post in 1981 and was the first chancellor in the university's history to be neither a peer nor an archbishop.
The Scotsman

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