Archive for 21 March 2009

The Labour view

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“… I understand the position of the Labour Party as a matter of principle. But it is a policy that has not worked in the past, and won’t work in the future. And just so as to deal with the possible claim that a different government would be more consistent and financially supportive, I would have to point out that the 1980s coalition government of which the Labour Party was a member cut funding for higher education just as brutally as other governments have done. Universities need to escape from the current situation in which they cannot plan financially and cannot secure quality …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 21 March]

Student hardship pleas ‘increase’

Posted in Life with tags , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

UK“There has been a big increase in the number of university students across the UK applying for emergency hardship funds, research by the BBC suggests. Of the 18 universities contacted, 11 saw rises as students struggle to pay fees and costs as part-time work dries up and more parents lose their jobs. Plymouth says requests are up by 38% and Newcastle 20%. University College London and Cardiff also reported rises. Ministers say they are doing what they can to ensure finance is not a barrier …” (more)

[BBC News, 21 March]

Universities as Copyright Regulators: Power and Example

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

USA“A few days ago, the MIT faculty unanimously adopted a university-wide OA mandate, which establishes as a default rule the obligation for MIT researchers to hand over a pre-print version of their scientific works for publishing it in an open access repository (see Open Access News). In a note on this decision, the chairman of the drafting committee Hal Abelson explains the context of this decision: ‘Our resolution was closely modelled on similar ones passed last February by Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and by the Harvard Law School, also passed by unanimous vote. Stanford’s School of Education did the same, as did Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government just last Monday.’ So, MIT’s step towards open access is an illustration of both an example of elite universities’ regulatory power and of the power of their example …” (more)

[Governance Across Borders, 21 March]

Student drunkenness in Holylands shows how tribalism has grown during peace process

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

UK“There is an inconvenient truth at the core of the controversy over student misbehaviour in one square kilometre of south Belfast and it is all to do with sectarianism. On St Patrick’s Day the issue of student drunkenness and hooliganism came into sharp focus once again. The battleground was of course Belfast’s Holylands, a small area running from the edge of the university district down to the River Lagan where the streets are named after the cities and biblical place names of the Middle East. Scenes of drunken students taunting police officers, setting fire to cars, throwing bottles and stones at PSNI riot lines and blocking off streets while they held al fresco parties have reignited the arguments about whether it is right to shoehorn so many third level students into a tightly packed area …” (more)

[Guardian, 20 March]

Student protests across Europe

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , , , , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

EU“As neo-liberal education reforms are planned across Europe, students in the continent have been taking to the streets leading to battles with riot police in several cities. On Wednesday morning, the day before the general strike over one million workers, students clashed with riot police in Paris after a demonstration over the university reforms. Universities across France have been barricaded and picketed for almost two months in a standoff over these higher education reforms. The satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné yesterday reported that Sarkozy wanted student protests calmed by May, fearing echoes of the student-led protests of May 1968. Seven people were arrested and 80 injured in clashes in Barcelona between police and university students on Wednesday. The clashes occurred during two city-centre protests in the northeastern Spanish city after police forced students out of a university office they had occupied since November …” (more)

[Infoshop News, 20 March]

Return of third-level fees to face legal challenge

Posted in Fees and access, Legal issues with tags , , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Government plans to introduce new third-level charges will face a legal challenge, the Irish Independent can reveal. Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe plans to end free third-level education from 2010. However, this year’s Leaving Cert students will also be affected. He says they will not be exempt and will be required to pay a contribution from next year onwards. But top legal advice obtained by the Union of Students in Ireland says charging up to 40,000 students who enrol in September would be illegal. ‘The advice states clearly that students who have already applied for and accepted a place this coming September are deemed to be doing so under the existing free-fees policy’ said USI president Shane Kelly. ‘We will take legal action if necessary to ensure that students enrolling in September will not be penalised …’” (more)

[John Walshe and Fionnan Sheahan, Independent, 21 March]

Students at UCD to stage anti-fees strike on March 30th

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , , , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Thousands of students at University College Dublin are to stage a one-day strike on March 30th against the re-introduction of fees. The action will consist of a lunchtime rally at the Belfield campus as well as talks and social activities. The ‘education shutdown’ is being organised by the college’s students’ union. The union was mandated to organise strike action in a referendum passed by students earlier this month. The proposal was put forward by anti-fee activists from the Free Education for Everyone (FEE) campaign. Staff at the university look set to take part in the Irish Congress of Trade Unions strike on the same day. This means that students will not be boycotting classes because there will not be any taking place …” (more)

[Genevieve Carbery, Irish Times, 21 March]

Bringing back third-level fees

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“After months of speculation, the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe, is poised, apparently, to bring forward his proposals on third-level fees. Officials are finalising a discussion paper setting out a broad range of options. But, the Minister is hiding behind his officials by withholding his views from the public. Perhaps he is afraid that his memorandum will be rejected by the Cabinet. He doesn’t even have the conviction to advance his own arguments in public. Mr O’Keeffe deserves some credit for reopening the fees debate. The current situation where higher education is largely dependent on exchequer funding is unsustainable in the current economic circumstances and out of sync with the practice in most OECD states …” (more)

[Irish Times, 21 March]

University Teachers vote for industrial action

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“IFUT members have voted by a substantial majority to participate in the ICTU-organised National One-Day Work Stoppage scheduled for 30 March 2009. The General Secretary, Mike Jennings, said that the ballot represents ‘the reluctant determination of IFUT members to register the strongest possible protest against the Government’s handling of the economic crisis’. The ballot was counted today and showed a margin of 67.7% in favour of the action …” (more)

[IFUT Blog, 20 March]

A lesson too costly

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The Minister for Education intends to introduce a scheme under which college students will make a contribution to the cost of their education by means of a State loan which they will pay back in instalments after they have graduated and are earning money. Batt O’Keeffe and his advisers are said to have put a great deal of thought into the proposals, which are soon to be presented to Cabinet. This is just as well. It is unthinkable that the Government might introduce a flawed plan, only to amend it piecemeal in face of public opposition. The coalition cannot contemplate a return to the humiliating policy reversals that followed the original Budget 2009. The support of the Green Party, so far so steadfast, could yet be shaken by some unforeseen GUBU moment …” (more)

[Independent, 20 March]

Universities group wants us to model system on Australia

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

Ireland“A year ago, it would have been unthinkable. But a student contribution to the cost of their third-level education now seems inevitable. If Minister Batt O’Keeffe pulls it off, it will be quite a political feat to bring an end to the free fees policy introduced by Niamh Breathnach in the mid-nineties. He has been softening up the ground for the past year by talking publicly about those high-earners who can afford to pay and about the need to help disadvantaged young people access higher education. The dire economic situation has helped him by making us expect the worst, as has Fine Gael with its proposals this week for a 30pc graduate contribution towards the cost of their education …” (more)

[Independent, 20 March]

The Myth of the Online Cash Cow

Posted in teaching with tags , on 21 March 2009 by Steve

USA“According to a new survey from the League for Innovation in the Community College, enrolments are, in fact, increasing at community colleges across the country, especially in online programs. A quick and careless read could lead one to conclude that profits from growing online programs were being used to supplant losses in state aid. There may be some college, somewhere, that’s actually doing that. But I haven’t seen it. Online courses are not cash cows for us. Most of the cost of instruction is labor, and we don’t pay any differently for online instruction than we do for traditional instruction. (We also charge the same tuition and fees.) We have full-time faculty who teach online courses as part of their regular load, and we have adjuncts who teach them for their normal pay …” (more)

[Inside Higher Ed, 19 March]