Today's news

August 14, 2006

CBI in science warning over 'dire' school leavers
The "dire" quality of school leavers was putting science-based industries at risk, the CBI said today. The business group spoke out ahead of the publication of A-level results later this week to warn that teenagers had been put off science subjects because of a stripped-down science curriculum, a lack of specialist teachers and lacklustre careers advice. Leading businessmen have warned that the world-class science base has been eroded just as high-tech competition from India and China is hotting up. Richard Lambert, the CBI's director-general, said employers were increasingly worried about the long-term decline in numbers studying A-level physics, chemistry and mathematics and the fall in the numbers of people going on to study those subjects at university.
Financial Times

Universities may seek 18 'A grades' for popular courses
Britain's brightest young people will need up to 18 A grades at A-level for the most popular university courses under a radical shake-up planned next year. Universities are to be allowed access to students' individual grade passes for all six of the modules that go towards a full A-level. The move is planned by exam boards after admissions tutors said they could not pick the best talent for popular courses such as law and medicine now so many A-level scripts were being awarded A grades. The number of A-grade passes reached a record 22.8 per cent last year and will rise to about 23 per cent when this year's results are announced on Thursday.
The Independent

Probing a far from efficient market
As snappy titles go, the Paul Woolley Centre for Capital Market Dysfunctionality hardly rolls off the tongue. But the new research centre, which combines one of the UK's most thoughtful fund managers with the expanding Tanaka business school unit of Imperial College, London, will be hoping to produce some incisive comment on financial markets. Imperial has been reaching business for about 50 years but the unit has really taken off only after the arrival of Richard Sykes, formerly of Glaxo Wellcome, as chairman, and a donation by a former PhD student turned entrepreneur, Gary Tanaka.
Financial Times

Gap-year students lured by 'mystery of Africa'
Africa is now the most popular continent for gap-year students working voluntarily between studying for A-levels and university. As students receive their results on Thursday, up to 100,000 will plan on working and travelling abroad, with South Africa and Tanzania the top destinations, says the Year Out Group. Sarah Bishop, spokeswoman for the African Conservation Experience, a company that offers work in game and nature reserves to gap-year students, said she believes the "mystery" of Africa is enticing. "Previously, Africa had not been travelled so widely by the gap-year market, whereas Australia, New Zealand and Thailand have been done to death," she said. "So there is a sense of adventure. Also, countries such as South Africa have become safer."
The Independent

Nurses from overseas face the axe
New rules designed to safeguard jobs for British trainee nurses could mean that thousands of foreign nurses already employed here are forced out of work. With as many as 80 per cent of nursing graduates unable to find work, the Government has - with effect from today - removed nursing from its list of professions that bypass immigration rules. This means that overseas nurses will be given a job only if no suitable applicants come forward from Britain or Europe. But the change also applies to existing nurses from overseas once they reach the end of their contracts.
Daily Telegraph

Letters
Need for physics, students could face more anxiety.
The Independent

From the weekend's papers

Saturday

  • Campuses 'more a security threat than mosques'. Financial Times
  • Germany opens senior university. The Guardian

Sunday

  • Universities tag students to make them attend lectures. Sunday Telegraph
  • The end of up-front fees for students. Independent on Sunday


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