Archive for March, 2009

Higher Education Reform: the Fine Gael alternative

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 31 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Fine Gael just this week issued the most comprehensive package of Higher Education reform seen since the abolition of third level fees by the Rainbow Government over a decade ago. Fine Gael Education Spokesperson Brian Hayes TD outlined targeted proposals focusing on: Improving access for students from weaker socio-economic backgrounds; Improving quality assurance; Prioritising student support; Encouraging specialisation where it is beneficial; Focussing on innovation and skills requirements that are vital for the future; Improving accountability; Providing an alternative system of funding Higher Education …” (more)

[Deirdre Clune TD, 31 March]

Activism and Academia: G20

Posted in Legal issues with tags on 31 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“It’s interesting (or disheartening, depending on your view) to see in the Times Higher today that the University of East London has cancelled their planned ‘Alternative G20 Summit’ on Wednesday this week. Is this an understandable reaction to the comprehensive media coverage of the protests planned throughout London this week? Or should the university management team have continued to support the event? Universities will undoubtedly be pulled in different directions throughout the economic downturn. As we have seen in the Irish media in recent weeks, they are viewed as both saviour of the economy but also bloated, inefficient institutions …” (more)

[Summa cum laude, 31 March]

Hundreds of colleges refused permission to take overseas students

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 31 March 2009 by Steve

UK“More than 400 colleges and schools have been refused permission to take overseas students under immigration controls designed to weed out bogus institutions and students. The UK Border Agency has turned down around 460 of more than 2,100 organisations under new rules intended to ensure that students coming to the UK from beyond the European Economic Area (EEA) abide by the terms of their leave to be here, and that their host institutions monitor this properly. The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, said: ‘These new measures make sure people who come here to study and the people who teach them play by the rules …’” (more)

[Peter Kingston, Guardian, 31 March]

UK faces continental threat

Posted in teaching with tags , on 31 March 2009 by Steve

UK“UK universities will lose lucrative international students to their European competitors if they do not wise up to increasing competition from their neighbours. That is the message of a Universities UK report released today, which warns institutions to act now to preserve their place in the European market. The report, produced by the UK HE International Unit at UUK, examines funding regimes, immigration rules and the amount of teaching offered in English to consider the threat that continental European universities pose to UK higher education. It singles out Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland as potential direct competitors …” (more)

[Hannah Fearn, Times Higher Education, 31 March]

College fees – what’s going on?

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 31 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Students – and their parents – have spent the past few months worrying about the re-introduction of college fees. So what is the Minister planning, and what will it mean for you? Speculation about the return of third-level fees has been continuing for months. When will we know the Government’s proposals? Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe will bring his recommended proposals to Cabinet shortly. So, are fees coming back? What we can say is that the era of free third-level education is coming to an end. Some other elements are clear. There will be a new system of graduate taxes and/or student loans. The new fees regime will begin in September 2010, and it will only apply to new entrants to college next year. Existing undergraduate students can breath easy …” (more)

[Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 31 March]

Hundreds of courses face the axe – despite the push for universities to retrain the unemployed

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 31 March 2009 by Steve

UK“This summer, universities across England will axe hundreds of courses, mostly those aimed at people from the local area, and those that retrain people for a new career. Manchester University’s courses for the public, which have 1,000 students every term, will close their doors, as will Reading University’s public programmes. Other universities will stop teaching courses that largely have a non-traditional intake – older students who may already have a qualification in another subject. It is the result of a decision by ministers in 2007 to refuse funding for anyone who already has a qualification of equal status, referred to as ELQ (equivalent and lower qualification) students. It means, for example, that anyone with a first degree (BA) who wants to take a BA in another subject will have to pay full fees – making this a luxury for the very rich only …” (more)

[Francis Beckett, Guardian, 31 March]

Former NUIG head to study academic freedom

Posted in Life with tags , , on 31 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“An international study on academic freedom is due to be undertaken by former NUI Galway president Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh in conjunction with the New York University Scholars at Risk Network. Dr Ó Muircheartaigh, who retired in 2008 after a seven-year term as NUI Galway president, says that the study is the first of its type. It will survey the state of freedom in universities and colleges worldwide in a five-year research programme. The Scholars at Risk Network, hosted by New York University, is an international non-governmental organisation which raises awareness about academics at risk and organises sanctuary for professors, lecturers, researchers and other intellectuals who suffer threats in their home country through temporary academic positions. In return, scholars contribute to their host campuses through teaching, research, lectures and other activities …” (more)

[Lorna Siggins, Irish Times, 31 March]