Irish third-level students pay second-highest fees in Europe

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on November 2nd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Third-level students in Ireland pay the second highest fees in Europe, according to a new report by the European Commission. While the UK has the highest fees – equivalent to about €10,000 – it is followed by Ireland with fees of €3,000. A crucial difference, however, is that more than 40 per cent of students in Ireland do not have to pay fees as they are entitled to means-tested grants …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 2 November]

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Creating a new relationship in research, science and innovation with the EU

Posted in Research on November 2nd, 2017 by steve

“Dr Vassiliki Papatsiba from the University of Sheffield and Dr Ludovic Highman from the UCL Institute of Education highlight the urgent need for a new partnership in research, science and innovation with the EU if the UK is to retain its status as a leading knowledge economy. The briefing outlines why clarity on the future of the UK’s research relationship with the EU is so necessary …” (more)

[Centre for Global Higher Education, 1 November]

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‘We’ve tried everything else, so why not a graduate tax?’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on October 30th, 2017 by steve

“Only five years since the current system for funding Home/EU undergraduates at universities in England was introduced, its future is already in serious doubt. Policy proposals, first from Jeremy Corbyn during this year’s General Election campaign and then from Theresa May at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month, have once again put university fees and student funding at the centre of a national political debate …” (more)

[Helen Carasso, Wonkhe, 30 October]

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Paranoia and Consensus: British Universities and Brexit

Posted in Governance and administration on October 26th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Another day, another paranoid Daily Mail headline.  Obsessed with ‘traitors within’, the people who gave you ‘Crush the Saboteurs’ continue to present the existence of large numbers of people who have always opposed Brexit as some sort of treasonable conspiracy theory …” (more)

[conradbrunstrom, 26 October]

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Why student loans are a confidence trick for the 85%

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 26th, 2017 by steve

“The current system of university student funding in England is a confidence trick. It is an attempt to defraud a group of people – poorer students and their families – after having gained their trust by pretending that the system is fair and they will be treated equally …” (more)

[Danny Dorling, Wonkhe, 26 October]

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Brexit perspectives in the academy

Posted in Teaching on October 25th, 2017 by steve

“Apparently like all university heads in the United Kingdom, I received a letter this week from Mr Chris Heaton-Harris MP, a Conservative Whip in the House of Commons and, as his own website states, a ‘fierce Eurosceptic’. In his letter, Mr Heaton-Harris asks me to supply him with the names of professors ‘who are involved in the teaching of European affairs, with particular reference to Brexit’ …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 25 October]

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Third Level Admissions Entry Requirements: A-levels

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 25th, 2017 by steve

IrelandNiall Ó Donnghaile (Sinn Fein): I raised this Commencement matter because the issue in question is coming to the fore. Many students, educationalists and teachers in the North are noticing and falling foul of a particular anomaly where there is a difference in the recognition of the A-level grading system by institutions in the South. This has only been exacerbated by Brexit …” (more)

[Seanad debates, 24 October]

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Lecturers tell Brexit-curious MP to pay tuition fee if he wants course notes

Posted in Governance and administration on October 25th, 2017 by steve

“Lecturers have hit out after a Tory MP wrote to universities asking for names of professors teaching about Brexit and requesting links to their courses. The letter from Chris Heaton-Harris, a Conservative whip and Leave campaigner, has prompted a backlash from those teaching …” (more)

[Nicola Irwin, Independent, 24 October]


No 10 disowns Tory whip accused of ‘McCarthyite’ behaviour

Posted in Governance and administration on October 24th, 2017 by steve

“A Conservative whip accused of ‘McCarthyite’ behaviour after writing to university vice-chancellors to demand a list of tutors lecturing on Brexit was not acting on behalf of the government, No 10 has said …” (more)

[Jessica Elgot and others, Guardian, 24 October]


Student Leaders Unite to Condemn Brexit ‘Chaos’

Posted in Governance and administration on October 23rd, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Student leaders from Ireland, the UK and Northern Ireland all today jointly condemned the detrimental impact on higher education of the uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the EU. In a joint statement at a student summit in London today …” (more)

[Matthew Murphy, University Times, 20 October]

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Upgrading all borderline students’ degree classes ‘unacceptable’

Posted in Teaching on October 22nd, 2017 by steve

“UK universities must ensure that their policies on borderline scores do not in effect lower the thresholds for degree classifications, sector bodies say. In a new report, Universities UK and GuildHE call for more transparency around degree algorithms – the set of rules that institutions follow to determine a student’s final degree classification …” (more)

[Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher Education, 18 October]

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Universities ‘could face fines or de-registration’ if they fail to uphold freedom of speech

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on October 19th, 2017 by steve

“Universities that use ‘no platforming’ and ‘safe spaces’ to shut down free speech could face action from the new higher education regulator, the Government has announced. Jo Johnson, the universities minister, said young people and students need to ‘accept the legitimacy of healthy vigorous debate’ as he outlined plans …” (more)

[Arj Singh, Independent, 19 October]

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The UK’s Cautionary Tale of Teaching Excellence

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on October 18th, 2017 by steve

“Higher education in the UK, and in England in particular, has undergone more than two decades of continuous reform, in its governance, structures, funding and quality assurance mechanisms. Among these reforms has been the imposition of research assessment as a mechanism for distributing research funds, which has acted as a huge and successful incentive to improve the quality of research …” (more)

[Bahram Bekhradnia, University Times, 17 October]

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Why there is no brain drain (yet) of EU academics in the UK

Posted in Governance and administration on October 13th, 2017 by steve

“A predicted exodus of EU academics from British universities has not yet materialised. Helen de Cruz discusses why – despite the uncertainty hanging over their future status and rights – the ‘brain drain’ has not really begun yet …” (more)

[LSE Brexit Blog, 13 October]

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Students cheat in ever more creative ways: how can academics stop them?

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on October 12th, 2017 by steve

“I volunteer to sit as a lecturer on our academic misconduct board several times a semester, joining a small panel that decides whether or not students flagged up by their lecturers for cheating have broken the rules. We get a stack of roughly 10 cases, and for two or three hours we pore over them, not only deciding if students are guilty as charged but also what the punishment should be …” (more)

[Guardian, 12 October]

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A bad-tempered Brexit is a risky move for universities

Posted in Governance and administration on October 11th, 2017 by steve

“‘Brexit – that is not the future of Europe’, said Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, in his annual agenda-setting state of the union speech in September. While few universities on the continent would be so dismissive, it is fair to say that Brexit has lost its sense of urgency in many places. ‘It has happened, it’s a shame, let’s get on with it’, largely sums up the mood …” (more)

[Lesley Wilson, Guardian, 11 October]

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Former polytechnics should lose university status, says Adonis

Posted in Governance and administration on October 11th, 2017 by steve

“The former Labour education minister Andrew Adonis has reignited one of the oldest controversies in British education by calling for the clock to be turned back on polytechnics granted university status. Lord Adonis told a House of Lords committee that the government’s decision 25 years ago to allow more than 30 polytechnics to take the title of university was a mistake …” (more)

[Richard Adams, Guardian, 10 October]


Northern Ireland student loses High Court battle over being denied funding for Dublin degree course

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on October 9th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A Northern Ireland student has lost a High Court battle over being denied funding for a degree course in Dublin. Aimee Liggett was seeking to challenge a Department for the Economy decision that law studies she wanted to undertake were not eligible for financial support …” (more)

[Alan Erwin, Belfast Telegraph, 9 October]

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Survey results confirm UK university staff’s deep dissatisfaction

Posted in Governance and administration on October 6th, 2017 by steve

“The final results of a major survey have confirmed deep dissatisfaction among UK university staff about the way their institutions are run. Earlier this year, the preliminary results of the National Senior Management Survey, based on responses from about 2,200 UK higher education employees, revealed that more than three-quarters were dissatisfied with the way their institutions were run …” (more)

[Matthew Reisz, Times Higher Education, 5 October]


REF changes could have a bad impact on mental health

Posted in Research on October 1st, 2017 by steve

“In late 2013, I led a project evaluating how universities went about preparing the impact element of their submission to the 2014 research excellence framework. As was widely reported, we estimated that the monetised costs of preparing submissions across the sector was about £55 million …” (more)

[Jonathan Grant, Times Higher Education, 28 September]

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