Today's news

October 2, 2006

A levels no real preparation for university, say students
More than 40 per cent of students believe that A levels failed to prepare them adequately for the demands of a university degree, college leaders warned today. More than half the undergraduates surveyed for a poll for the Association of Colleges said their teachers steered them towards courses in which the school did well, rather than subjects matching their needs, and about six out of 10 said they wished they had the chance to combine academic and practical choices at school. Universities have already complained that they cannot identify the brightest potential students because so many pupils now get A grades at A level.
The Guardian

Medicine opens Nobel prize season
At least six new names will be added over the coming weeks to the list of the 758 individuals and 18 organisations that have won Nobel prizes, the annual awards that seldom fail to incite charges of bias, irresponsibility and irrelevance. Starting with the winner of the medicine prize, announced today, the new laureates will pocket SKr10m (£700,000) and join a diverse pantheon, alongside Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, Theodore Roosevelt and Yasser Arafat, Milton Friedman and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Financial Times

Scientist hits at tactics on child obesity
A leading children's health expert has attacked the government's strategies for tackling childhood obesity, claiming they put too much emphasis on PE lessons and not enough on the importance of daily exercise. Neil Armstrong, pro-vice chancellor of Exeter University, also accuses the government of neglecting Britain's obesity epidemic by failing to commission any significant research. Professor Armstrong, who is professor of paediatric physiology as well as director of the Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre, said: "We have known about the likelihood of an obesity epidemic for 15 years. I'm very disappointed and frustrated that so little has been done in that time."
The Guardian

Student must pay £1,400 for one day's calls on lost phone
A student has been told that he must pay Orange more than £1,400 after thieves are believed to have stolen his mobile phone and made more than 1,000 calls to premium rate numbers. Because the 20-year-old business student took nearly a day to report his phone missing, Orange has told him that he has to pay for the calls. Mr Barnes, in his third year at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, said he was sickened by Orange's attitude: "I'm pretty angry with them. Given that these calls were so unusual, why didn't it trigger an alarm?"
The Daily Telegraph

Threat of 'superflu' rampage as mutant viruses resist drugs
The drive to fight deadly flu pandemics with special antiviral drugs risks creating an untreatable "superflu", the head of Britain's public health watchdog has warned. Sir William Stewart, the chairman of the Health Protection Agency, warned that the widespread use of antiviral drugs to treat illnesses, including bird flu and seasonal influenza, is causing viruses to mutate into drug-resistant-forms. He claimed that drug-resistant viruses now represented as big a threat to public health as antibiotic-resistant superbug bacteria, such as MRSA.
The Daily Telegraph

Letter
Cheating MBAs set alarm bells ringing in business worldwide.
The Financial Times

From the weekend's papers:

Saturday


  • Student tuition fees 'fall way short' of degree cost. The Financial Times
  • Reading University to drop physics department. The Daily Telegraph

Sunday

  • Universities call for further maths to solve selection poser. The Sunday Telegraph
  • Oxford dons get £30,000 from land sale. The Sunday Times

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