Archive for 19 October 2009

Does A ‘Gap Year’ Have Benefits?

Posted in Life with tags on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Several employers are calling for the introduction of a compulsory gap year after the Leaving Cert, it has been reported. The report also says that a review compiled by the Irish Business and Employers Confederation suggests that pupils could develop their skills by working on a voluntary basis in the community for a year. While this is a classic case of self-selection (for now, at least), it could be worth asking about gap-years in future surveys of Irish college students …” (more)

[Martin Ryan, Geary Behavioural Economics Blog, 19 October]

Third level dismay at Greens’ fees coup

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“College students and their parents might be relieved that the negotiations on the new programme for government has resulted in the removal of third-level fees from the immediate agenda. But the implications of the Green Party’s insistence that the issue be ‘parked’ will not only affect government coffers and third level institutions’ funding issues, but also the standard of education students receive. And with more cuts to funding expected in the December 9 budget, the situation is looking bleak for third-level …” (more)

[Martha Kearns, Sunday Business Post, 18 October]

Test for entry to medicine degree is ‘barrier for poor’

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The new test used in addition to Leaving Certificate results to select entrants to medical school is a barrier to poorer students becoming doctors, an equality expert has claimed. The Higher Professional Aptitude Test (HPAT) was used for the first time to measure suitability of applicants for medicine degrees and the scores were combined with Leaving Certificate results of all applicants with at least 480 points …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 19 October]

More practice needed in legal education

Posted in teaching with tags , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Historically, law study at third-level institutions in Ireland and in other common law jurisdictions was theory-based and took place exclusively in lecture halls. Law, however, is both an academic and a vocational discipline. Accordingly, law schools in every other common law jurisdiction have embraced the role of practice in legal education, but Irish law schools still lag far behind. Law schools elsewhere have incorporated law practice primarily, though not exclusively, by promoting and investing in clinical legal education programmes …” (more)

[Larry Donnelly, Irish Times, 19 October]

Two academic years in one

Posted in teaching with tags , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Madam, – The major social and economic engine of Cork city prosperity and employment had ceased for the last four months. It has just restarted. The engine I refer to is University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology and other third level colleges. Ireland has now more than 400,000 unemployed people. There is a huge window of opportunity. We could almost double the number of third-level students who could use and benefit from the existing stock of buildings and facilities by changing the university and third-level colleges to start in June and end in December, with another academic year starting in January and ending in May …” (more)

[Brendan P Donoghue, Irish Times, 19 October]

Group to review teaching of maths in schools

Posted in teaching with tags , , , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“A new group is being set up to address concerns about the teaching of maths in secondary schools. Education minister Batt O’Keeffe is to set up the implementation group following meetings last week with senior representatives from employers’ group Ibec, Engineers Ireland and the Third Level Computing Forum. These discussions centred on how the teaching of maths could be improved to increase the take-up of science, technology, engineering and maths at third-level …” (more)

[Martha Kearns, Sunday Business Post, 18 October]

‘Stark split’ in education levels

Posted in Life with tags , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

UK“The qualifications gap between the most and least educated areas in Britain is growing wider, says a lecturers’ union. Richmond Park in south-west London has the highest proportion of graduates, 64%, compared with the lowest, 10% in Hodge Hill, Birmingham. ‘The current divide between the haves and have-nots is growing’, says UCU general secretary Sally Hunt …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 18 October]

Ireland ‘bottom of class’ for technology

Posted in teaching with tags , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Ireland is close to the bottom of the world league when it comes to technology in the classroom. One in three Irish 15 year olds hasn’t used a computer in school, twice the average in the rest of the developed world, according to a 2006 survey. Another study in the same year put Ireland 19th out of 25 European countries on the use of technology in the classroom. And nothing has changed since then …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 19 October]

Free third-level education

Posted in Fees and access with tags on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Madam, – The decision by the coalition partners to go forward with a plan to continue free third-level level education is social madness in the present climate. Dropout rates in the early years of third-level courses are already extremely high (possibly as much as 20 per cent). The reasons are complex, but high among them is a lack of appreciation by students of free third-level education …” (more)

[Gabriel J Byrne, Irish Times, 19 October]

University aptitude tests criticised

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“The new aptitude tests for medicine are of dubious educational value, according to a prominent UCD academic. Dr Kathleen Lynch, head of equality studies, has also strongly criticised the introduction of aptitude tests for choosing mature students at both UCD and UCC. Not alone were the tests of doubtful value, they were also a new barrier for lower-income students to higher educational entry, she told the Teachers’ Union of Ireland weekend conference on education …” (more)

[John Walshe, Independent, 19 October]

A really open university

Posted in teaching with tags , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Have you heard of iTunes U? Well, if you are interested in learning in innovative ways, you should have a look. You can read about it here, but the basic concept is that universities can upload content for distribution on iTunes, generally for free. You will need to have iTunes (which is also free), but that’s all. On the front page of the iTunes Store, scroll to the bottom where you will find a link to iTunes U, and after that you are right into the content …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 18 October]

Irish universities pioneering innovative sports technology

Posted in research with tags , on 19 October 2009 by Steve

Ireland“Technology developed by Irish universities is changing the way that major sports events are filmed and helping to deliver detailed performance information to athletes. ESPN, the sports broadcaster owned by the Walt Disney Company, is working with Irish researchers on ‘sensor web technologies’, to develop cameras that can automatically respond to the movements of sports people. ESPN plans to use the technology to automate the recording of sports events with high-tech cameras that respond in the same way as a human director …” (more)

[Nicola Cooke, Sunday Business Post, 18 October]