Today's news

September 15, 2006

'Stay at home' degrees over the internet
Traditional three-year residential honours degrees could be replaced by a more flexible credit-based system, Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, said yesterday. Students would no longer leave home for three years but would be able to amass credits building up to a qualification through part-time courses and programmes delivered over the internet. Credits would be transferable between universities and students dropping out would no longer leave without any qualification.
The Daily Telegraph

Two A levels 'should be enough to get you into Oxford or Cambridge'
Top universities must drop demands for good A-level grades if they are to attract more working-class students, urges new official research. A report commissioned by government funding chiefs said yesterday that requiring high A-level grades discriminates against poor children who do not have the advantages enjoyed by their middle-class peers.
The Evening Standard (London)

Students rank accountancy top for jobs
Accountancy firms are shaking off their stodgy image to become the most desirable workplaces in the eyes of students, who have ranked PwC, Deloitte and KPMG as the employers offering the best graduate job prospects. The three firms beat the civil service and the BBC to share the top spots for the first time in a "graduate employer of the year" league table compiled by High Fliers Research. The popularity of accountancy firms has risen as demand for their services in the City soars. They have become the biggest graduate employers - Deloitte will take on 1,400 this year - and have spent millions of pounds on campus recruitment.
Financial Times

Rugby captains do not make industry captains
Students who are members of a sports society at university emerge as surprisingly weak at supporting and cooperating with others, according to the research, part of the annual Hobsons Graduate Recruitment Review, which questions about 26,000 UK students on behalf of employers. The team spirit, crucial to so many jobs, also appears to be weaker in students at the Russell Group of 19 leading universities- including Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Edinburgh and the London School of Economics - from which blue-chip companies recruit.
Financial Times

Scientists decode DNA of a tree
Scientists have for the first time unravelled the full DNA sequence of a tree. Decoding the poplar genome could help to provide a renewable alternative to fossil fuels used for transport, according to a study published this week in the journal Science. This research was carried out by a large international consortium led by the US Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute. The researchers say knowledge of the genetic make-up of the poplar should enable arboriculturalists to make trees grow faster and make them easier to process into energy.
Financial Times

Rubble reveals 3,000-year-old poetry
A block of stone inscribed with patterned images suggestive of rhyming couplets is hailed today as the oldest known example of writing in the New World. The stone was found in a pile of debris used for road building in Veracruz, Mexico, near the former capital of the Olmec civilisation. It bears inscriptions that date back some three millennia, close to the age of the earliest Egyptian and to cuneiform developed in ancient Mesopotamia. "It's a jaw-dropping find,'' says Stephen Houston, of Brown University, Rhode Island. "This block shows a whole new dimension to Olmec society.
The Daily Telegraph


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