Today's news

October 17, 2006

Anger over plans to spy on students
University bosses and lecturers reacted with anger and alarm last night over government plans to encourage academics to spy on their students. They said the measures, were likely to be counterproductive in the drive to root out extremist activity on university campuses. According to the proposals drawn up by the Department for Education and Skills, ministers are to ask staff to spy on "Asian looking" or Muslim students, informing special branch of anyone they suspect of being involved in Islamic extremism. Downing Street yesterday briefed that they wanted lecturers to promote pluralism, not to spy on students.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Independent

Universities making progress on pay scale transfer
University employers yesterday reported that almost half of the higher education institutions questioned on lecturer pay improvements across the UK have transferred staff to new pay and grading structures since August 2006. This year's earlier pay dispute, which began in April and involved lecturers refusing to mark student work or take part in assessment appraisals, is believed to have encouraged the rapid implementation of the national framework agreement. The chief executive of the University and College Employers association, Jocelyn Prudence, said: "We are hopeful that staff will see a vast improvement through this pay modernisation programme."
The Guardian, The Times

Chinese university makes 'elitist' golf compulsory
A Chinese university aiming to produce "socially elite" graduates is to make golf compulsory for students, state media reported on today. Golf was once reviled in Communist China as a symbol of western decadence, but has become hugely popular among the newly affluent since the first golf course opened on the mainland in the early 1980s. Students majoring in management, law, economics and software engineering at Xiamen University in China's southeastern Fujian province would be required to take a course in golf "to achieve their elite ambitions", the China Daily newspaper said.
The Scotsman

Deaf students sign up to reject college president
The leading university for the deaf in America reopened yesterday after the arrest of 130 students protesting against the choice of a new college president, who claims that she is opposed for being “not deaf enough”. The protesters at Gallaudet University, backed by most members of the faculty and university alumni, are fiercely objecting to the appointment of Jane Fernandes, in a dispute that some say is a larger fight about deaf identity and the future of deaf culture. Ms Fernandes, who has been the university’s provost since 2000, was born deaf, but grew up speaking and did not learn American Sign Language until she was 23.
The Times, The Guardian

Conference to tackle university plagiarism problem
Urgent calls are being made today for a clear plan of attack in the battle against students who cheat or plagiarise their essays and assessments. A major conference organised by Universities UK, the umbrella group for university heads, is due to hear from Baroness Ruth Deech, the student complaints ombudsman, who has urged universities to consider creating guidelines for a sector-wide approach to penalising cheating students to avoid inconsistencies from one institution to the next. "A cross-sector view on what should be done where students are found to be cheating would be enormously helpful," she said.
The Guardian

Call for air-fare price rise to cut emissions
A £10 price rise on airline tickets could be enough to slash soaring carbon emissions, ministers have been told. The price increase is proposed in a hard-hitting study by Oxford University researchers, who warned that, without it, the UK would fail to meet its targets to slash carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050. Government had drastically underestimated the growth in demand for air travel, according to the report Predict and decide: Aviation, climate change and policy . The researchers warned that all other industries would have to cut emissions by up to 87 per cent to offset the rise in pollution from aviation.
The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times

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