Category Archives: Britain
July 6, 2012, 4:36 pm
Critics of the recent dismissal of several faculty members from Queen Mary, University of London, say the move reflects the way universities are using measures of research performance by individual academics to increase their level of government financing. Fanis Missirlis, one of 11 biologists who have been told by Queen Mary that they face dismissal this summer, was informed late last month that his employment contract was being terminated and that his last day of work would be the following day, Lab Times reports.
The Lancet pointed out that Mr. Missirlis was entitled to three months’ notice and said he was given no time “to make alternative arrangements to continue his research.” According to the Times Higher Education, Mr. Missirlis said that the criteria used to decide who would be dismissed, or made redundant, “discriminated against people with heavy teaching loads and …
July 3, 2012, 2:44 pm
Oxford University Press has agreed to pay nearly $3.5-million to settle investigations involving illegal payments to government officials by two of its East African subsidiaries related to World Bank education projects. It has also been barred from doing business with the World Bank for three years. According to a statement from the press, which is owned by the University of Oxford, the corruption came to light last year when the World Bank alerted the press “to the possibility of irregularities with payments related to tenders in East Africa.”
Oxford University Press, the world’s largest university press, will pay the World Bank $500,000 and will pay a fine of nearly $3-million to Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, which had brought legal action against the publisher. The Serious Fraud Office said in a statement that it had found “no evidence of Board level (or the equivalent)…
June 27, 2012, 12:34 pm
Chinese students with mediocre grades are being offered admission to leading British universities, apparently bypassing stringent qualifications for British students, reports the Daily Telegraph.
In addition, recruitment agents for universities are coaching foreign students to provide misleading statements to government authorities about whether they plan to remain in Britain after their studies. The newspaper conducted an undercover investigation, sending reporters to a company in Beijing that acts as the official agent in China for more than 20 British universities.
Income from foreign students has become an important source of revenue for many institutions. While tuition for U.K. and European students is capped at British universities, students from other parts of the world can be charged market rates.
The chief executive of Universities UK, which represents the vice…
June 25, 2012, 12:56 pm
Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, has begun an online petition to stop the extradition of a British student facing trial for copyright infringement in the United States, where if convicted he could be imprisoned for up to 10 years. Describing Richard O’Dwyer, 24, a student at Sheffield Hallam University, as “the human face of the battle between the content industry and the interests of the general public,” Mr. Wales says that Mr. O’Dwyer, while operating a Web site that linked to sites where television shows and movies could be watched online, “always did his best to play by the rules.”
Theresa May, the British home secretary, approved the extradition request following a January court ruling. Last month “Mr. O’Dwyer was told that his appeal against the decision, which was due to take place in July at the High Court, would be delayed,” the BBC reports.
June 22, 2012, 4:49 pm
A creative-writing instructor at Britain’s Open University has been accused of “multiple instances” of plagiarism, including what “appears to be a verbatim copy of a radio play” by Dylan Thomas, reports The Telegraph. The distance-learning institution is investigating the matter. Allegations against Joanne Benford include her virtually copying a Dylan Thomas story, “Holiday Memory,” under the same title in Down by the Water, which her Web site says is her first book. The Welsh writer’s estate has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Ms. Benford, adds the newspaper, which says it was unable to reach her for comment.
June 20, 2012, 1:40 pm
After almost 20 years, Aung San Suu Kyi accepted an honorary degree on Wednesday from the University of Oxford. The celebrated pro-democracy leader was awarded the degree in 1993, but years of house arrest and imprisonment in Myanmar had prevented her from accepting in person. Ms. Suu Kyi, who is on her first trip abroad in 24 years, was recently elected to parliament in Myanmar, where the military junta has moved to relax controls over the government. She earned an undergraduate degree from Oxford and in a speech on Wednesday said memories of her time there “were among the most important inner resources” that helped her during her long period under house arrest, the BBC reports. She also lived in Oxford for many years with her late husband, the Tibet scholar Michael Aris, notes the Associated Press.
May 31, 2012, 3:17 pm
British universities are praising a decision by the country’s finance minister to abandon plans to cap tax relief for charitable giving. The reversal, the third time in a week that the minister had backed down from a planned budget measure, may cost the government about £10-million, or nearly $16-million, in tax revenue, according to Bloomberg. Universities helped lead opposition to the planned cap, arguing that it would cost them tens of millions of dollars a year in donations. A statement from the director general of the Russell Group, which represents Britain’s 20 leading research-intensive universities, hailed the policy reversal and emphasized that, with universities “increasingly reliant on philanthropic donations as we strive to remain world-class,” even a small drop in charitable giving could have resulted in a significant loss for universities.
May 17, 2012, 1:51 pm
Students in England, where tuition at universities tripled from £1,000 to £3,000 (about $4,800) between 2006 and 2012, are spending the same amount of time with their professors and instructors as before the increase, says a report published on Thursday. Government officials had promised that raising tuition would lead to improvements in the educational experience, including better interaction between students and professors. The report, “The Academic Experience of Students in English Universities,” is from the Higher Education Policy Institute, an independent think tank. It is based on a survey of more than 9,000 students and also finds that students are working harder on their own than before, although they still devote less time to their studies than students elsewhere in Europe.
The chief executive of Universities UK, the organization that represents all British universities…
May 3, 2012, 4:20 pm
Britain should develop a new national strategy for increasing the number of students who study or work abroad, recommends a government-commissioned report published on Thursday. The number of British students who study at universities in other countries has been low, especially compared with the number of students from overseas who study in Britain.
The report by the chair of the UK Higher Education International Unit suggests ways to increase the number of British students going abroad. The recommendations include extending the current fee-waiver system—which allows students taking part in the European Union’s Erasmus mobility program to avoid paying tuition in Britain for the year—to programs that are not part of the Erasmus network.
In a written statement, the director general of the Russell Group, which consists of 20 leading research universities whose students represent…
April 20, 2012, 2:33 pm
The University of Nottingham will set up a research institute in Shanghai this year with the East China University of Science and Technology. The collaboration will focus on drug discovery, green technology, and aerospace. The British university first announced its interest in expanding to Shanghai in 2010, suggesting it wanted to build a branch campus similar to the one it has in Ningbo. The new agreement is far more limited, however, with Nottingham using space provided by the East China University of Science and Technology, according to David Greenaway, Nottingham’s vice chancellor. While the university has wanted to be in Shanghai, it has always been “fairly pragmatic about what form that presence should take because it needn’t necessarily be a clone of Ningbo,” said Mr. Greenaway.