Update 12:50

May 14, 2002

Government may break fees pledge
The government is considering whether to allow universities to charge top-up tuition fees as part of its student finance review, higher education minister Margaret Hodge told the House of Commons select committee on education last night. This would break a pre-election pledge by Labour to rule them out for the whole of the next parliament. Ms Hodge told the committee that the government was still examining all the options, including a graduate tax, which the Treasury was thought to have vetoed as too expensive. The results of the review are expected in July. 

Pro-racist professor forced to resign as Tory councillor
Sussex University professsor Geoffrey Sampson has been forced to resign as a Conservative councillor from Wealden District Council after publishing an article on his website in support of racism. In his article, There’s Nothing Wrong with Racism, Professor Sampson described multiculturalism as “wicked madness”, said racism was “natural” and claimed that black people were “less bright” than whites. The university has publicly rejected his views. 

Scots strike over 'victimised' convenor
Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland are today staging a one-day strike at Motherwell College in support of branch convenor Douglas Nicol, who they claim has been victimised by management. The management insists disciplinary action against Mr Nicol was justified.    

Poll reveals doubling in home study numbers
The number of adults who take home study courses to boost their job prospects has doubled in recent years, a survey showed today. Eight in ten of those polled by the National Extension College as part of Adult Learners Week said they were trying to get a qualification to improve their skills or help them find a job, up from 40 per cent in 1995.

Learning prescribed to Nottingham patients
Patients with such symptoms as anxiety, agoraphobia, low self-esteem or chronic pain are being prescribed courses in yoga, assertiveness or computing rather than given medicine under a pilot project in Nottingham. Of the 200 patients that have so far been referred to a learning adviser, more than half have taken up learning.

Archer's wife gives energy lecture
Solar energy expert Mary Archer, wife of Jeffrey Archer, tonight gives a public lecture on alternative energy sources at St Andrews University. Dr Archer is president of the National Energy Foundation, which promotes energy efficiency.    

Ex-CIA man lined up for Texas job
Former CIA director Robert Gates has emerged as the sole nomination for president of Texas A&M university. Mr Gates, a retiring Republican senator, was director from 1991-93.

Campus closure pre-empts student defiance
Authorities in Conakry, Guinea, closed the university campus for a few days to prevent the 21st celebration of the death of Bob Marley being used by students to repeat defiant smoking of marijuana in an anti-government rally.  

Former Ulster v-c dies
Sir Derek Birley, former vice-chancellor of the University of Ulster from 1984-91, has died in Johannesburg after a short illness. Sir Derek, 76, was the husband of the present vice-chancellor of Wits University, Norma Reid.

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