Today's news

June 12, 2006

Don's bequest decided by a sundial
An Oxford college has been left a share of the £888,000 estate of a former fellow, but will not get a penny unless it agrees to put a sundial designed by Sir Christopher Wren back to where it used to be 120 years ago. Throughout his academic life, John Simmons argued that All Souls College had made a dreadful mistake in moving the sundial, recognised as one of the most beautiful in the world, to a different position in the quadrangle. It remained a passion until his death last year at the age of 90. His will states that part of his estate, will go to his former college if the sundial is removed from the wall of the Codrington Library and "re-erected where it was originally positioned by Sir Christopher Wren."
The Daily Telegraph

Female graduates train to be plumbers
Female graduates are giving up their desk jobs to train as plumbers and challenging the bloke-ish image of the trade, says the head of the first private plumbing academy. They make up almost a fifth of the intake and are turning out to be some of the best students, said Steven Edwards, who founded the Plumbing Academy. "They are helping to dispel the blokes, bums and bricks image associated with the sector, which can be one of the factors putting women off a construction career."
The Daily Telegraph

Part-time students 'getting raw deal on fees'
Part-time students should be given greater financial assistance to help them complete their studies, according to a leading figure in higher education. Peter Syme, the chairman of the Open University in Scotland, made his comments as the organisation prepared to launch its strategic plan for the next four years. He said it was unfair that part-time students had to pay their tuition fees up-front while their full-time colleagues were exempt from the charges.
The Scotsman

Cleese to write history of comedy
John Cleese said today he is retiring to write the history of comedy for the younger generation. He admitted that he could "never do better than Fawlty Towers whatever I do", so had decided to "teach young talent some rules of the game". Cleese, 66, will act as a "comedy professor", holding masterclasses with students on how to make people laugh. The Monty Python star said too much television comedy was aimed at American teenagers, with little emphasis on fine acting and writing.
The Evening Standard, The Times, The Daily Telegraph

ITV1 and C4 accused of abandoning coverage of world
Reality show Celebrity Love Island accounted for three-quarters of ITV1's factual programming about developing countries, according to a report which says ITV1 and Channel 4 are ignoring global issues. The series, that totalled 13 hours, was included in the study because it was filmed in Fiji. The report into factual foreign coverage, carried out by the University of Westminster and commissioned by 3WE - a coalition of leading charities - says ITV1 has "almost evacuated this area completely", while Channel 4's output has fallen to just 36 hours a year.
The Scotsman

Vitamin E linked to stillbirths
Pregnant women should avoid taking vitamin E supplements after a study showed they may double the risk of a stillbirth, experts have warned. Researchers found that taking high doses of the vitamin also led to low birth weights and increased health complications in newborns. Andrew Shennan, who led the two-year study at St Thomas' Hospital in London, warned that pregnant women could be putting their unborn babies at risk by 'self-medicating' with high doses of vitamin E.
The Daily Mail

From the weekend's papers:


  • St Hilda's is split over the decision to admit male students. The Independent
  • The College of Law of England and Wales is planning to replace lectures with online turorials. The Financial Times
  • Students are turning away from Nottingham University because of the city's crime record. The Times
  • The University of York is launching a masters' course looking at the problem of binge drinking. The Financial Times


  • Oxford is extending its reach to the children of Hackney. The Observer
  • St Andrews University has warned that higher education will decline unless students pay. The Scotsman
  • Generation Y are struggling to deal with student debts. The Sunday Times

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