Cost-cutting proposals to cut liberation officers to plug £3m deficit meets with outrage
The National Union of Students has come under fire after it emerged that proposals are being considered to get rid of liberation officers, who represent black, LGBT+, trans, disabled and women students, in order to cut costs.
The proposal is just one of a number of measures under consideration to try to plug the projected £3m deficit facing the troubled union, which represents the bulk of students in UK higher and further education.Continue reading...
Paul Hewitson (Letters, 28 November) quotes Jack Britton, the author of an Institute for Fiscal Studies report into graduate pay, who referred to “a large class of men doing courses that have a zero or negative monetary value”. How do we measure the value of a degree? Is it solely and wholly on the basis of graduate earnings? Presumably, then, a degree that leads to a career in teaching or nursing is worth only a fraction of a degree that leads into commercial law or corporate accountancy? What about the value to society? What about the educational and intellectual value of a degree? What about less tangible factors such as cultural enrichment, interacting with people from other backgrounds, communication skills, fostering improved literacy?
Judging the value of academic qualifications purely on the basis of subsequent earnings is all too typical of the crass philistinism that the current government and the rightwing press routinely promote, and which views universities as little more than educational supermarkets selling a packaged product to bargain-hunting student consumers; universities in which education and learning are increasingly subordinated to providing the skills and training apparently demanded by big business.
Wer darf künftig für Bildung zahlen? Darüber streiten Bund und Länder. Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten zum Digitalpakt.
The solution to today’s puzzle
Earlier today I set you the following puzzle: Aboriginal groups are divided into subgroups, called “skins.” Your skin is determined at birth, based on your parents’ skins, and it does not change in your lifetime. Your skin will determine certain social rules, such as who you are allowed to marry.
The Warlpiri, who live northwest of Alice Springs, divide themselves into eight skins, according to the rules in the diagram below. Yes, it’s complicated! The skins are numbered 1 to 8. The horizontal rows indicate marriage correspondences, while the arrows point from mother to child. (All the marriages here are between men and women, and we can assume no divorces or half-siblings or step children.).Continue reading...
Strike comes as negotiations for higher wages, more resources and smaller class sizes have hit an impasse
Chicago teachers are planning to walk out on Tuesday in what’s believed to be the country’s first major charter school teacher strike.
Teachers and their union argue the independent schools are overcrowded and underfunded and have been used to create a “second tier in the teaching profession”. The strike comes as negotiations for higher wages, more resources and smaller class sizes have hit an impasse.Continue reading...
Headteachers and campaigners fighting cuts to special needs education call move ‘sickening’
Headteachers and campaigners for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have reacted with fury to a government announcement that 16 grammar schools are to split a £50m bonus to create new school places.Continue reading...
Central European University is first major university to be pushed out of an EU country
Central European University has announced it will leave Budapest for Vienna next year after a protracted legal and rhetorical battle with the Hungarian government, in what is the first case of a major university being pushed out of an EU country.
The university, which teaches in English and is regarded as one of the best in the region, has been in the crosshairs of the government of Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán, for the past two years, in part because of its affiliation with George Soros, who founded it and is still on the board.Continue reading...
The skins they live in
Today I have a logic puzzle based on the complex kinship rules found in Australian Aboriginal society. Aboriginal groups are divided into subgroups, called “skins.” Your skin is determined at birth, based on your parents’ skins, and it does not change in your lifetime. Your skin will determine certain social rules, such as who you marry.Continue reading...
A picture book dedicated to English’s strangest quirks has made the New York Times bestseller list, with the publisher scrambling to reprint. How did the rapper behind it dream it up?
The self-declared “worst alphabet book ever” has become a surprise hit over the last fortnight, with hundreds of thousands of parents rushing to get their hands on P is for Pterodactyl: a picture book that explains to children that while A might be for apple, it’s also for aisle.
Dreamed up by Raj Haldar, also known as the rapper Lushlife, with computer programmer Chris Carpenter, P is for Pterodactyl was published by US independent Sourcebooks on 13 November. The first print run of 10,000 copies sold out almost immediately, with the publisher now reporting more than 100,000 unfulfilled orders as they wait for a reprint of another 210,000 copies . Demand has also spiked in the UK; sales representative Rob Richardson said that social media buzz after a Facebook post from Imagination Soup saw sales spike from five to 3,000 orders overnight, with an additional and “pretty unprecedented” 10,000 advance orders the next day.Continue reading...