Students may have to remain on campus over Christmas amid Covid-19 outbreaks

Posted in Governance and administration on September 25th, 2020 by steve

“University students may have to remain on campus over Christmas if there are outbreaks of coronavirus, a Government scientific adviser has said. Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), has warned that students could have to stay in their university accommodation when term ends to ensure the infection does not spread to their parents and grandparents, as well as other parts of the country …” (more)

[Eleanor Busby, Belfast Telegraph, 25 September]

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University are uniquely vulnerable to cyber attack during Covid-19

Posted in Governance and administration on September 21st, 2020 by steve

“This week the National Cyber Security Centre issued its latest alert warning of the threat to disruptive attacks aimed at the education sector, following a spate of attacks on schools, colleges, and universities …” (more)

[Sion Lloyd-Jones, Wonkhe, 21 September]

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‘They see us as heavy-drinking nuisances’: students face Covid marshals

Posted in Governance and administration on September 20th, 2020 by steve

“Dancing, drinking and flirting at wild parties will be firmly off the student timetable this term – even for those tempted to attend an illegal event. Universities are paying for ‘Covid marshals’ to break up mass gatherings and stop undergraduates flouting pandemic rules …” (more)

[Observer, 20 September]

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UK universities predict record student dropout rate

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on September 19th, 2020 by steve

“Record numbers of young people in the UK are starting a university course this autumn, with many anxious to escape a collapsing employment market. But as students embark on a very different university experience, vice-chancellors are worried that many may not last the year …” (more)

[Anna Fazackerley, Guardian, 19 September]

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Could higher education ruin the UK’s Christmas?

Posted in Governance and administration on September 5th, 2020 by steve

“Here on Wonkhe we’ve been trying to piece together the Covid puzzle as best we can over the past few months – asking questions and raising concerns to try to help the sector try to get ahead in its thinking. It’s probably fair to summarise a lot of the recent material as follows. We reckon that there is a significant risk that higher education could amplify local and national transmission of Covid-19, and that this requires better oversight …” (more)

[Jim Dickinson, Wonkhe, 4 September]

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Leaving Cert students to learn details of adjustments to calculated grades process

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 31st, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Leaving Cert students are set to receive fresh details this week over how the calculated grades process has been adjusted to try to make results as fair and accurate as possible. The Department of Education is expected to this week release technical details of how the calculated grades system has been completed and refined in light of expert advice and controversy in the United Kingdom …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 31 August]

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Reopening universities could spark second coronavirus wave, academics warn

Posted in Teaching on August 30th, 2020 by steve

“The risk of infection on campuses could see universities become ground zero for a second wave of Covid-19 unless they avoid face-to-face teaching, academics have warned. The movement of an expected one million students around Britain as they return to universities in the next month has led the University and College Union (UCU) to warn the Government is ‘encouraging a public health crisis’ …” (more)

[Benjamin Cooper, Belfast Telegraph, 30 August]

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UK university reopenings risk ‘public health crisis’, academics warn

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 30th, 2020 by steve

“Plans to reopen universities have been thrown into serious doubt as the UK’s largest academic union warns today that it is “too dangerous” for face-to-face teaching to resume, and calls on the government and vice-chancellors to prevent students returning to campuses this autumn …” (more)

[Donna Ferguson and Toby Helm, Guardian, 29 August]

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Students from UK ‘won’t have an edge for CAO spots’

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on August 20th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“UK students will not scoop up extra CAO places on the back of this year’s bumper A-Level grades, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has confirmed. Professor Kevin Mitchell, Trinity’s dean of undergraduate studies, said the university’s goal was ‘to be as fair and equitable as possible to students from everywhere’ …” (more)

[Katherine Donnelly, Independent, 20 August]

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Education Minister insists Leaving Cert will not repeat UK results mess

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 19th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“Minister for Education Norma Foley has insisted Ireland’s Leaving Cert calculated grades model won’t have the same problems as the UK system. When it emerged that 40% of the grades estimated by teachers had been marked down by the UK process, there were mass protests. This led to a U-turn from the British government …” (more)

[James Cox,, 19 August]

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The U-turn and After …

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“One of the many things that Winston Churchill never said (referring to Americans) is that they ‘… will always do the right thing – after exhausting all the alternatives’. Yesterday the UK Government performed a U-turn on its approach to A-level results but only after extensive protests and after causing immense stress to a great many students …” (more)

[In the Dark, 18 August]

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Pressure mounts for change to calculated Leaving Cert grading system

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Governance and administration on August 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The Government is coming under pressure to change its calculated grading system for Leaving Cert students after similar ‘standardisation’ measures in the United Kingdom were scrapped amid controversy on Monday. Opposition parties last night called for a review of the Government’s plan after the British government made a U-turn on A-level results, abandoning its standardisation process …” (more)

[Jack Power, Pat Leahy, Jack Horgan-Jones and Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 18 August]

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Q&A: Will A-Levels grading controversy affect Leaving Cert students?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 18th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“While the models of calculated grades used across the UK are different, the core principles are the same as Irish system. What just happened in the UK with calculated grades? Tens of thousands of A-level students in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are set to see their ‘calculated grades’ increased …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 18 August]

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What insight did we get about the Leaving Cert Calculated Grades after the furore in the UK?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 16th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“When Plan C for this year’s Leaving Cert was announced, people had concerns that the system would be unfair for students. It would mean that students wouldn’t be sitting the exams they had been preparing for for almost two years. Instead, they will be assessed by their teachers, coupled with a controversial ‘standardisation’ by the Department of Education …” (more)

[, 15 August]

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School profiling should not dictate Leaving Cert grades, warns Ombudsman

Posted in Fees, access and admissions, Teaching on August 14th, 2020 by steve

“Leaving Cert students’ calculated grades should not be dictated by the past performance of their schools, the Ombudsman for Children has warned. Dr Niall Muldoon’s comments come amid controversy over the use of calculated grades in the UK which have seen hit disadvantaged students’ hit hardest by downgrades of their teachers’predictions …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 13 August]


Students back at uni – but with masks and no bars

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on July 27th, 2020 by steve

“The first students are beginning to return for face-to-face teaching on UK university campuses – with a new term of compulsory masks and closed bars. Most students won’t begin until the autumn, but veterinary students are now back at the University of Nottingham …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 27 July]

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IUA supports the securing of a strong outcome for research in the EU-UK future relationship: Reaching an agreement on UK participation in Horizon Europe

Posted in Research on July 22nd, 2020 by steve

Ireland“The EU and UK have been discussing UK participation in Union Programmes, including Horizon Europe, as part of the negotiations on a future EU-UK relationship. It is encouraging that both sides have committed to the principle of UK participation in their mandates, recognising that collaboration between the UK and the EU in the framework programmes strengthens our ability to tackle shared challenges, such as cancer and climate change …” (more)

[IUA, 22 July]

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Is Erasmus participation under threat in Brexit Britain?

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on July 13th, 2020 by steve

“Evidence from surveys are not always borne out by the facts. But you might say there are straws in the wind when 84% of prospective European Union students, in response to an online survey, indicate that they will ‘definitely’ not study in the United Kingdom if charged international student fees …” (more)

[Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon, University World News, 11 July]

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EU students to be charged tuition fees at Scottish universities after Brexit

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on July 9th, 2020 by steve

“Free university education for EU students studying in Scotland will be scrapped after Brexit. Holyrood’s higher education minister Richard Lochhead said the Government will end free education for EU citizens starting their studies next year, with the money saved going towards encouraging more Scottish students into university …” (more)

[Tom Eden, Belfast Telegraph, 9 July]

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UK universities comply with China’s internet restrictions

Posted in Teaching on July 9th, 2020 by steve

“UK universities are testing a new online teaching link for students in China – which will require course materials to comply with Chinese restrictions on the internet. It enables students in China to keep studying UK degrees online, despite China’s limits on internet access …” (more)

[Sean Coughlan, BBC News, 9 July]

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