Today's news

June 8, 2006

Universities urged to avoid local pay deals
Wealthy universities are being discouraged from making local pay deals after unions last night accepted a national offer lower than one agreed at the University of Ulster. The University and College Union accepted a 13.1 per cent pay rise over three years despite Ulster lecturers accepting a local deal worth almost 16 per cent over the same period late last week. The Universities and Colleges Employers' Association yesterday met all the higher education unions at the TUC headquarters in London and agreed to fine-tune its offer, including rewording its commitment to a review of the sector's finances in 2008.
The Guardian

Lecturers' pay deal fails to end doubts on graduations
Universities last night admitted they could not guarantee that all of their final-year students would be able to graduate despite lecturers calling off their industrial action over pay. But while some universities insisted all of their students would graduate as planned, others said they could not offer any promises. Glasgow University was unable to "make any guarantees" over students' graduation, Edinburgh said it was doing all it could to make sure as many students graduated as possible and Strathclyde said some degrees might be awarded in spite of marks being missing.
The Scotsman

St Hilda's to end 113-year ban on male students
The last remaining women's college at Oxford University voted yesterday to open its doors to men, bringing to an end more than 100 years of single-sex education. There were both cheers of joy and tears of disappointment as the governing body of St Hilda's, comprising 30 fellows and the principal, announced it had obtained the two-thirds majority required for the college to change its statutes and abandon its single-sex tradition. While male fellows will be admitted through its gates almost immediately, male students will have to wait until 2008 to join the institution, which was founded in 1893 by Dorothea Beale, the principal of the Cheltenham Ladies' College.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times

Mobiles blocked in exams crackdown
Some Chinese provinces have ordered schools to install mobile telephone blocking devices around university entrance examination halls to prevent answers being sent in by text message, amid nationwide hysteria about cheating. Universities are also on the look-out for a new ruse, involving "fake migrant students". Parents are said to be moving home so their children can sit the exams in areas that require lower pass score. Qinghua University, the nation's leading science institution, recently expelled a pupil found to have sat his test last year using a fake residence permit.
The Daily Telegraph

Students turn to parents as debts spiral
Financial worries mean that nearly a quarter of students, 22 per cent starting university this year intend to continue living with their parents, according to a survey. But while kids might feel comfortable living in the family home, parents would prefer them to fly the nest. Of the students surveyed by Lloyds TSB, 38 per cent said that while it would be possible to leave home, they would need to take on additional debt to do so. From the other side of the fence, 73 per cent of parents said that if money wasn't an issue, they would want their offspring to move out when they go to university, to gain independence.
The Scotsman, The Guardian

Legalise euthanasia, says expert
Doctors should be able to end lives swiftly and humanely, according to Len Doyal, emeritus professor of medical ethics at Queen Mary, University of London. Professor Doyal, who has called for the legalisation of voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia in the UK, believes that the medical profession should realise it is already killing patients when feeding tubes are removed from the terminally ill. Some suffer a "slow and distressing death" as a result.
The Guardian, The Times

Greek granny is a work of art
A student has flown her grandmother 1,600 miles from Greece to display her as a living sculpture. Janis Rafailidous, 22, wanted to recreate her Greek home life for the installation and felt that Athena, 80, would give it the necessary authenticity. Now visitors to the University of Leeds’ fine art graduation show can watch her cooking, knitting and tidying up. The grandmother, who lives in Athens, said: “In Greece we would do anything for our children.”
The Times

Strange rocks made by earliest known lifeforms
Strange rock formations in Australia were produced by the earliest known lifeforms which lived 3,430 million years ago, scientists have said. The formations are known as stromatolites and the latest study, has found convincing evidence that they were produced by marine microbes - perhaps the first living organisms on earth. Scientists studied rock outcrops more than 6 miles in length in Pilbara Craton, Western Australia, covering a time period in prehistory of about 80 million years, according to Abigail Allwood of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University in Sydney.
The Independent, The Times, Nature

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