Today's news

April 3, 2007

Universities criticised after funding figures fail to add up
Lecturers have accused English universities of failing to keep on top of their accounts after new figures revealed that they made a surplus last year, rather than a loss as originally predicted. Statistics released yesterday by the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that the sector in England had a surplus of £135 million in 2005-06. The University and College Union, whose members were embroiled in a bitter pay dispute last year, immediately seized on the figures to criticise their employers' financial acumen.
The Guardian

Middle class 'may take over teaching'
Tuition fees could turn the teaching profession into a middle-class preserve, it was claimed last night. People from poorer backgrounds may be turned away because of increases in university fees, according to research from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers. The union said 44 per cent of student teachers would have thought twice before joining training courses if they had been required to pay additional fees. They can now be charged up to £3,000 in top-up fees and university vice-chancellors want to be allowed to raise the charges. A review is expected in 2009.
The Daily Telegraph

Foreign students to get graduate work permits
International students who graduate from UK universities will be permitted to stay on for an extra year to work, the government has announced. From May 1, students who pass a bachelors degree or earn a postgraduate qualification in any subject can apply to extend their visas in a move that the Department for Education and Skills hopes will "cement the UK's status as a top study destination for international students". The International Graduates Scheme replaces one that had previously only been open to science and engineering graduates in England.
The Guardian

Cambridge ready to turn tide
The 2007 Boat Race has, as usual, attracted a bundle of different nationality rowers to trial for the Oxford and Cambridge crews. Six countries are represented this time, about average nowadays, with 15 of the 18 students taking part on Saturday graduates, with a degree already behind them. But the figureheads of the two university clubs, presidents Tom James and Robin Ejsmond-Frey, embody the spirit of the original 1829 race. For the first time since 2002 both presidents are undergraduates and British. One is a humanities student, one a scientist, and both learned their rowing craft at school in their teens.
The Daily Telegraph

Skeleton holds key to origin of man
A skeleton of a possible hybrid between modern and more ancient humans has been found in China, which challenges the theory that modern man originated in Africa. Most experts believe that our ancestors emerged in Africa more than 150,000 years ago and then migrated around the world. However, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , Erik Trinkaus and colleagues provide details of a skeleton found in 2003 from Tianyuan Cave near Beijing.
The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman, The Times

Scientists find ray of hope for hay fever sufferers
A new way to combat hay fever has been discovered by scientists while studying how plants reproduce. Now it has been found that a chemical signal that pollen uses during germination could trigger hay fever symptoms, according to Jo Bright and John Hancock of the University of the West of England. They will tell the Society for Experimental Biology in Glasgow today of the link with nitric oxide and nitrite - produced by pollen to trigger germination.
The Daily Telegraph

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