Update: 12:35

January 17, 2003

Strategy paper will be fine-tuned this weekend
Ministers and officials will spend the weekend fine-tuning the higher education strategy paper, which is due to be published next Wednesday. No 10 confirmed yesterday afternoon that the delayed document was expected to be published next week, though it required more work before being finalised. Reports of a row between education secretary Charles Clarke and chancellor Gordon Brown over the need for universities to prove they can secure access for the poorest students, and manage the extra funds generated by fees of between £3,000 and £4,000 a year, are unlikely to delay the paper. Any move to a system of top-up fees is likely to happen after the next general election giving ample time to improve university access and management. Some of the proposals relating to tuition fees will be put out for consultation.

Queen's Belfast launches PhD in governance
Garret FitzGerald, the former Irish taoiseach, will today launch a new doctorate in governance at Queen's University Belfast, aimed at senior government policymakers throughout Ireland, the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. The course is run jointly by Queen's institute of governance, public policy and research and the institute of public administration in Dublin.

Minister commemorates hot air
Science minister Lord Sainsbury today unveiled an English Heritage blue plaque dedicated to Sir Norman Lockyer, who named helium at the Oxford Hotel, London.

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