Today's news

April 26, 2006

Students urged to direct strike anger at VCs
The Association of University Teachers today urged student unions opposed to the marking ban by striking lecturers to take their anger out on vice-chancellors. Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the AUT, has invited the president of the University of Bristol's student union, Gaston Dolle, to a meeting on Thursday in a bid to ease growing tension between the two unions. Ms Hunt has convened the meeting to encourage Mr Dolle and other student union presidents to blame university management, not the AUT, for the marking disruption.
The Guardian

Oxford accounts show reliance on fundraising
Oxford colleges are breaking even, but only by relying on their endowments and raising money from alumni, the latest annual accounts reveal. The core activities of teaching, research, accommodating students and caring for historic buildings remain heavily in deficit, and are subsidised from non-core income, the university said after publishing the accounts of the 36 independent colleges, which have their own royal charters. Oxford said academic fees and tuition income fell in real terms by 2.6 per cent in the year to July 2005. On a combined gross income of £222 million the colleges reported an operating surplus of £400,000, but surpluses on sales of assets boosted this to £6.6 million.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph

10,000 graduate nurses face dole over jobs freeze
Thousands of student nurses face unemployment when they graduate this year as hospitals freeze recruitment and lay off staff to save money. Trainee nurses, many of whom decided to join the profession after the Government’s national recruitment drive, are having to apply for jobs as shelf-stackers or fastfood servers because of the funding problems in the NHS. Nurses said yesterday that as many as 10,000 students would not get work after finishing their training over the next year because of spiralling financial problems in the health service. Diploma courses, which last three years, can cost more than £100,000 per person.
The Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph

Graduates reap rewards of degree
Record numbers of Scots graduates are working and earning significantly more than those who did not attend university, debunking the myth that increasing numbers of students are destined for so-called "McJobs" after they finish their courses. A study of the graduate labour market released yesterday revealed that the number of graduates in the workforce has soared by more than 40 per cent over the last decade. Average graduate earnings have also reached about £28,000 - 50 per cent more than workers without a degree-level qualification.
The Scotsman, The Guardian

Unions set for crunch talks on lecturers' pay
Unions and employers were set to hold crunch talks today in a bid to end the lecturers' pay row which is threatening to derail students' graduation hopes. The Association of University Teachers union, which has 1108 members at Edinburgh University, 382 at Heriot-Watt and 20 at Napier, has advised lecturers not to mark papers or coursework until their demands are met. They are demanding a 20 per cent pay increase - but so far have been offered just three per cent.
The Scotsman

York residents fight university expansion
After four decades of proving that small can be beautiful, the University of York has decided to spend more than £500 million on joining the middle-sized university league. Planners permitting, a second campus will be built on a large slice of open land next to the current site, turning the shape of the university from a single wing to something more like a butterfly basking in the sun. The proposal is not basking in local approval, however. A public inquiry opened on Monday, which may have to resume in the autumn, so strong is hostility in some quarters of the ancient city.
The Guardian

Islam 'in time of reformation'
Islam today is “in the 15th century”, a senior Anglican clergyman said yesterday. The Dean of Southwark, the Very Rev Colin Slee, said in a sermon at Cambridge University: “I believe that history will show we are witnessing a Muslim reformation.” As with Judaism and Christianity in the past, he said, the response to reformation was characterised by “a retreat into certainties — political, nationalistic, doctrinal and scriptural. It is fundamentalism.”
The Times

Nasa moon mission could include UK astronaut
UK scientists are in talks with Nasa about joining the US space agency's plans to return to the moon. The mission could include a British crew member who would land on the surface. The last mission to land on the moon was Apollo 17 in 1972, but no British astronaut has walked on the surface. Andrew Ball, a space scientist at the Open University, said the UK could provide a field geologist to go to the moon on a new mission: "That would bring the UK huge scientific benefits." Dr Ball is part of a UK scientific delegation at Nasa's exploration strategy workshop this week, where Nasa officials are outlining US plans to return to the moon in 2018.
The Guardian

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