Archive for 20 April 2009

Funding of Irish universities

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 20 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Madam, – In relation to the future of Irish universities, Prof. John Kelly (Opinion, April 16th) presents a horrific prospect in calling for the Government to ‘reassert its authority and introduce the changes necessary to meet the needs of the current and future generations’. I can think of few things more likely to degrade the quality of our universities than direct government intervention. Firstly, the Government’s track record in reform of areas such as healthcare is little short of disastrous. Political vulnerability, leading to excessive deference to vested interests, means that Government is rarely in a position to come up with clear, realistic, targeted planning …” (more)

[Norman Stewart, Irish Times, 20 April]

Educational quality: the student to faculty ratio

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , on 20 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“We know that the global university rankings compiled by the magazine Times Higher Education use student-staff ratios as one the key criteria for the league tables. Interestingly, the only Irish institution that makes it into the top 100 on that basis is Dublin Institute of Technology. And we also know, in the context of the continuing budget cuts in Ireland and the anticipated further reductions in public expenditure later this year that the position of Irish universities in this regard will erode further; indeed, quite apart from the budget cuts there is now the public sector recruitment embargo that has, with some modifications, also been applied to higher education. In fact, even in much better times the student-staff ratio in Ireland has been bad by international standards …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 20 April]

Talk in Cork on euthanasia

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 20 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Madam, – While the recent discussion about the rights or wrongs of the cancellation of this talk is important, this talk was still under the auspices of the HSE and Cork University Hospital. The role of the HSE is to provide care for the most vulnerable in the State, not to promote the antithesis of that role by allowing ‘lectures’ entitled: ‘Why Euthanasia should be legalised’! The fact that Prof. Doyal advocates this most obnoxious practice in order to save money and free up beds is disgusting to say the least. Imagine the outcry if this lecture was on the rights of allowing rape or child abuse! …” (more)

[John McCallion, Irish Times, 20 April]

No US limit on student visas for year

Posted in Legal issues with tags , on 20 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“There will be no limit on the amount of one-year working visas available to Irish students and recent graduates wishing to work in the United States, the US embassy has said. It was initially reported that 20,000 visas were being made available to students who have enrolled in an educational course that could lead to a degree or diploma and to those who have graduated within the last year. However, a spokeswoman for the embassy said: ‘On the US side, we have not put any upper limit on the amount of people who can apply.’ The spokeswoman said no statistics were available regarding the numbers who had already applied for the working visa, called a J visa, adding ‘anecdotally, a lot of people have asked about it’ …” (more)

[Pamela Newenham, Irish Times, 20 April]

Does Facebook Hurt Your Grades? Can Twitter Make You Smarter? What About YouTube?

Posted in teaching with tags , , on 20 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Does Facebook hurt your grades? This may be the question that parents everywhere will soon be asking their children. There is the argument that students cannot blame Facebook because if Facebook did not exist, they would find another distraction. However, Facebook users under parental supervision will probably have scant praise for the researchers from Ohio State University who have shown that the majority of students who use Facebook every day are underachieving by as much as an entire grade, compared with those who shun the site. See the story in the Times here …” (more)

[Martin Ryan, Geary Behavioural Economics Blog. 20 April]

State pays €700,000 to teach Irish in colleges overseas

Posted in Governance and administration with tags on 20 April 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Universities across the globe are being grant-aided by the Government to get more people speaking Irish. From Poland to the Czech Republic and across the Atlantic to North America, third-level institutions are receiving a total of €700,000 this year to promote Irish. They include Karlova University in Prague; Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland); Freiburg University in Germany; Utrecht University in Holland; and the University of St Thomas in Texas. In all, more than 40 universities and other third-level colleges are benefiting from the grant aid to support and develop the teaching of Irish abroad in 2009 …” (more)

[Brian McDonald, Independent, 20 April]

Pupil with Asperger’s syndrome rejected by school

Posted in Legal issues with tags , , on 20 April 2009 by Steve

UK“A teenager who was refused a place at his local school because he suffered from Asperger’s syndrome has won a conditional offer to study engineering at Cambridge. Alex Goodenough, 17, taught himself at home from textbooks after Hertfordshire and Essex high school and science college (H&E) rejected his application to study there. A special educational needs and disability tribunal ordered the school to apologise to Alex for treating him less favourably ‘for a reason related to his disability’ …” (more)

[Haroon Siddique, Guardian, 20 April]