Today's news

March 5, 2007

Study finds inconsistent handling of university complaints
A new study into how university complaints are handled has revealed that the quality of procedures varies widely across the sector while 54 per cent of institutions admit that their caseload has risen. Nearly two out of three institutions revealed that they had been threatened at least once with legal action following a complaint. Just over half said they had been sued. The findings follow a representative study of 40 higher education institutions across England and Wales, who were questioned about the number of complaints they dealt with, their procedures for handling complaints and the outcomes.
The Guardian

Public schools tighten grip on Oxbridge
Independent schools have increased the number of pupils they send to Oxbridge over the last five years despite the Government's campaign to broaden access. Eton has almost doubled its success rate at Oxford, with 70 pupils offered places last September compared with 38 in 2001. Places at Cambridge have also gone up, to 25, against 23 five years ago. The Oxbridge success rate at Westminster rose from 68 in 2001 to 80. Harrow's rose from 14 to 21, Winchester's from 47 to 56 and St Paul's boys' school from 42 to 55.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

Hundreds of thousands 'to die early as diabetes rockets by 60%'
Scotland is "sleepwalking" into a diabetes epidemic that will cause hundreds of thousands of people to die young, experts warn today. Research from Edinburgh University reveals the number of people diagnosed with type-2 diabetes will soar by 60 per cent within the next ten years. The situation is mainly due to the obesity crisis, with current estimates showing a quarter of the population is likely to be classed as obese by 2018. Doctors say they are treating an increasing number of teenagers for type-2 diabetes, which traditionally only develops in older people.
The Scotsman

Genes could give diagnosis of lung cancer
A genetic test has been developed that could reveal whether a smoker has lung cancer months or even years earlier than is possible at present. The patterns of what scientists call "gene expression" in the cells taken from the airways of smokers could aid the early detection of lung cancer, according to a study from the Boston University School of Medicine. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in the world. This high mortality rate results in part from a lack of effective tools to diagnose the disease at an early stage.
The Daily Telegraph

Key adult stem cell study 'had significant flaws'
A key study showing that adult stem cells are just as useful as those derived from early embryos has been called into question following the discovery of serious errors in the original research. The study, published in 2002, was thought to be one of the most important discoveries in the field of stem-cell research and was seized upon by opponents of human embryo experiments, who claimed that it undermined the case for using embryos at all. However, an official inquiry has concluded that some of the study's data is "significantly flawed" and that its conclusions were "weakened" as a result.
The Independent

From the weekend's papers:


  • Muslims are accused of blackmailing female students to convert to the religion. The Times
  • Oxford professor has been "hounded" for his views on immigration. The Daily Mail


  • Rhodes scholars give Oxford D-minus. The Sunday Times
  • Students told not to suffer in silence with sub-standard teaching. The Mail On Sunday

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