Today's news

April 18, 2006

Degrees in two years to ease student debt
Students will be able to gain an honours degree in only two years as part of a “study anytime” revolution for higher education. Long summer holidays will end for undergraduates on “compressed” degrees as they complete their studies a year early so that they can get on with their careers with reduced levels of debt. Others will take courses entirely at work and through online study in an effort to raise the proportion of adults with degree qualifications. They will be given credit towards their degrees for skills learnt on training courses.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Scotsman, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Apr 14) 

Blair launches drive to attract 100,000 more overseas students
The Prime Minister will today announce ambitious plans to bring 100,000 extra international students to the UK by 2011, when he launches the second phase of an earlier, successful recruitment drive. A five-year programme launched in 1999 was designed to bring an extra 50,000 students to Britain. In fact 93,000 came, paying billions in fees to universities. At Downing Street today, Tony Blair will call for an additional 100,000 international students over the next five years on top of the 203,000 already here. A package of nearly £7 million will help universities' recruitment drive.
The Guardian, The Evening Standard

University shelves plan to bin books after outcry by academics
A university has shelved controversial plans to throw away 22,000 library books after objections from students and academics. Dundee University had planned to bin thousands of books because of demands on space, even though a £7.5 million library extension is due to open. The about-turn comes after a Dundee economist, Neil Robertson, claimed that he bought a four-volume set from the library for 80p and subsequently found the same books being offered for sale at £1,500 on eBay.
The Scotsman

'Backward caste' deal for students fires Indian middle class
Draconian quotas that will force India's colleges to select half of their students from "backward castes" and other minorities has caused outrage among the middle classes, who already face fierce competition for university places. The government plans have also cast doubt on the ability of the country's leading universities to compete with the best in the world. Under current law, per cent of all university places are reserved for the "scheduled tribes and castes" who were identified at the time of independence as needing preferential treatment to help them to enter mainstream society.
The Daily Telegraph

French students to resume lessons
Students at most of France's 84 universities are expected to return to classes this week after two months of protests over the Government's ill-fated labour reforms disrupted courses and caused millions of euros in damage. However, in a final act of defiance, representatives of 31 universities voted at the weekend for another day of protest today to demand the withdrawal of further labour initiatives and immigration reforms. Last week the Government was forced by widespread national opposition to back down on its "first job contract" reform, which would have allowed companies to fire young workers without justification within a two-year trial period.
The Financial Times

Father of capitalism Adam Smith 'would back New Labour' says Brown
Gordon Brown is to claim that the father of modern economics and free market capitalism, Adam Smith, was spiritually an early member of New Labour, in a book published later this year. The Chancellor had challenged Iain McLean, a professor of politics at Oxford University, to write a book on where one of the world's most famous Scots would feel "more at home" if he was alive today: on the centre-left or centre-right of politics.
The Scotsman

Home of golf to honour courage of Tiger's 'honorary grandfather'
Charlie Sifford, the American golfer who overcame racism to become an inspiration for a generation of young players, is to receive an honorary degree from St Andrews University. Mr Sifford's determination to play led Tiger Woods to describe him as an "honorary grandfather" for all black golfers. Woods has saved every letter Mr Sifford, 84, has written to him since they met 15 years ago, and said that, without his inspiration then, he never would have taken up the game at such a high level.
The Scotsman

'Forgotten' drug lets women have IVF without side-effects
Hundreds of infertile women could be spared the most distressing side effects of IVF by a drug regime too rarely used in Britain, a leading specialist said yesterday. Newer fertility drugs that act quickly without triggering menopausal symptoms can be as effective as standard therapies but are offered by only one in twenty British clinics, according to Bill Ledger, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Sheffield. Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone antagonists were developed in the 1990s and are used in 80 per cent of IVF cycles in Scandinavian countries.
The Times

From the weekend's papers:


  • Former Oxford Union president Edward Tomlinson dies on gap year. The Daily Telegraph
  • Pain cannot be felt by a foetus, says University of Birmingham psychologist. The Daily Telegraph
  • Student snowboarder dies at the annual British Universities Snowsports Council competition. The Daily Telegraph


  • Royal Institution science lectures may move to India. The Daily Telegraph
  • The standard and quantity of Ivy league students in the USA is increasing, and with them the number of rejections. The Financial Times
  • Britons gambled £50 billion last year according to researchers from Nottingham Trent University. The Daily Telegraph


  • Iranian scientists are secretly conducting crucial nuclear research and development, using university laboratories. The Sunday Telegraph
  • Thousands of medical students have been told that the NHS cannot afford to employ them. The Sunday Express
  • Plans by Stirling University to hold the first public screening of a film featuring the pop group Wham! have been shelved after permission was refused. The Sunday Times


  • University students facing £3,000-a-year tuition fees are being short-changed when it comes to the amount of tuition they receive. The Daily Telegraph
  • Researchers from Cambridge University have claimed a high IQ can lessen the severity of disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. The Scotsman

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