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Sector News, 20 - 24 July 2009

10,000 more student places 'at a cost'. The Daily Telegraph, 20 July 2009.

The extra student places at university this year will only apply to those studying science, mathematics, technology and engineering.  The Telegraph insists that the funding available for these extra students will only cover half of the cost of their tuition. 

See also “More place, but no more teaching grant”, THE, 23 July 2009.

Some are more equal than others.  Education Guardian, 21 July 2009.

According to the new Ofsted guidance due to be used from this September, if a college’s achievements on quality and diversity are lacking, the overall grade it gets might be reduced.    This puts colleges in a rural setting as well as those colleges whose major catchment is predominantly white at a disadvantage.  David Linnell, the principal of Cornwall College, is disappointed by the lack of organisation shown by Ofsted who to date have no more than draft working papers for its inspections from September.  He is also concerned that inspectors will not show sufficient common sense in applying the new ruling.

Bogus colleges 'not being tackled'.  The Independent, 21 July 2009.

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has made it clear that a failure to act against bogus colleges is allowing tens of thousand of illegal immigrants into the country.  Most come in on fraudulent visas in order to work illegally and not to further their education.  What is most disturbing is the recent case of Pakistani students arrested and threatened with deportation on the grounds of national security.

This story also appears in the Times newspaper under “Government slammed for failure over bogus colleges and economic migrants”.

Third of teens angry at plans to raise school leaving ageThe Daily Telegraph, 21 July 2009.

A study by the Youth Commission has found that a third of teenagers resent the fact that they will have to stay on at school until they are eighteen.   Many fear that they will be forced to sit in classrooms, studying subjects in which they have no interest.

Graduate employment data makes ‘grim reading’.  THE, 23 July 2009.

Graduates faced a tough time trying to enter the job market this year.  Statistics from 2007-08 show a one third increase in those graduates who had not obtained employment six months after completing their degree.   With the recession in full swing, this year is likely to be much harder for those trying to find work.

No regulation no CAM revival, Uclan decides.  THE, 23 July 2009.

More in the long running saga of complementary medicines.  The University of Central Lancashire has said that it will not revive its degree in homoeopathy, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines unless the Government uses its statutory powers to regulate the subjects.

The future’s bright for universities… if they reinvent themselves.  THE, 23 July 2009.

Mike Boxall, who leads PA Consulting Group’s work in higher education, says that universities need to eliminate three myths; that higher education is about universities do; higher education is all about knowledge and skills and higher education depends on government.   He argues that universities must remove themselves from the past and gear up for a new world order in higher education.

Other articles in this week's THE:

What sets you apart?: - argument for the branding of universities.

Primary colours:- examination of Barack Obama's political philosophy.

The missing link:- why American universities are better at patenting than their European counterparts.

Geraldine Van Bueren: 'Cutting tuition fees could be unlawful'.  The Independent, 23 July 2009.

Geraldine Van Bueren, a professor of international human rights, argues that the Human Rights Act applies to universities as well as schools.  “The Human Rights Act provides that no one shall be denied the right to education, and the right to education should be implemented without discrimination. It is a right which is not limited to primary and secondary schooling, and extends to university education”.   For this reason, Geraldine believes that cutting tuition fees which can lead to a barrier for some to enter university, is both discriminatory and unlawful.

 College goes to court for capital compensation.  TES, FE Focus, 24 July 2009.

Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education is making the first legal challenge against the Learning and Skills Council over its troubled capital funding programme.  The college spent £3.7m doing the work required by LSC after receiving approval in principle for its rebuilding project.  Grimsby Institute is not happy about the way LSC has refused to fully compensate colleges who fell foul of its mishandling of the capital projects funding.

Train to Gain not good value for money, says audit office.  TES, FE Focus, 24 July 2009.

As a new programme, Train to Gain has seen more mistakes in funding than other new programmes, according to the Audit Office.  There has been £11 million paid to providers in error of which £8.2 million has been recovered.  The Audit Office also believes that the controls on providers are not strong enough, increasing the risk of fraud and error.  All in all the Audit Office says that Train to Gain is not providing value for the money that is being spent.