Daily Gobshite
  • sensaes

UCU joins the TUC's groupthink experiment.

"67 of the UK's biggest universities and over one million students affected • Vote follows imposition of two-tier pension system without members' agreement • Staff face six figure losses from pension pots

As more unions signal their intent to ballot members over changes to pension schemes, members of UCU in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) have today voted for a campaign of sustained industrial action in protest at the imposition of changes to their pensions."

More here: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5736

It's not a strike. Don't call it a strike.

You can call it sustained arseyness, or Nigel if you like, but don't - whatever you do - call it a strike.

"Members of UCU this afternoon voted to step up their campaign of industrial action in an increasingly bitter row over changes to their pensions. The escalation of action could see widespread disruption to marking, the admissions process and exams.
Delegates in Harrogate backed a motion calling for UCU members in the 'old' pre-92 universities who are in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) pension scheme to be balloted for 'sustained industrial action.'"

Full details: http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=5571

Tonight's Dispatches on Channel 4 - Cashing in on Degrees.

"With students facing massive increases in their fees, Dispatches investigates the pay, perks and privileges enjoyed by universities' top earners. Journalist Laurie Penny reveals the increasing commercialisation of higher education and asks what happens when universities scour the globe for students and funds."

Details: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/episode-guide/series-87/episode-1

Edit: For anyone who missed the show, wants to see it, and can't be bothered with all that 4oD fuss and bother, here's a download link:


(Cheers to N.)
Commander Kringe

£10m funding bung for uni sport.

Some people will see nothing wrong with this. They might even think that it's great news. Others will shrug a little bitterly, point out that it's Lottery money, and perhaps bemoan the fact that, as such, it's specifically tied-in to its purpose:

'A total of 41 projects are to benefit from a £10m lottery fund to get more university students playing sport, it has been announced. Sport England said the Active Universities projects were part of the "mass participation legacy" of the London 2012 Games. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said it would encourage students to continue playing sport following their studies.' - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-12906939

A few, however, like those who forwarded the story to my Inbox this morning (accompanied by Subject lines clearly designed to test the F-word limits of the e-mail system), will fume and curse at the craziness and inappropriate timing of it all. They have my sympathy.
  • sensaes

Omigod! Where are all the overpriced vacuum cleaners of the future going to come from?*

"Inventor Sir James Dyson is warning that UK business could be damaged unless more UK-based students take postgraduate research courses. Firms could have to take their research and development work abroad in the future if home-grown talents are not nurtured, he warns. Sir James says some 70% of engineering and technology post-graduates in UK universities are from overseas."

More here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12464204

*The answer is, of course, China.
Lord Dead
  • sensaes

The social strings attached to higher fees...

...and why everyone seems to think that Nick Clegg and Simon Hughes are complete idiots.

"Universities in England could be stripped of the power to charge tuition fees of more than £6,000 a year if they fail to admit sufficient numbers of students from poorer backgrounds. And those setting higher fees could face large fines for missing targets. Under the government plan, they would also have to help fund a National Scholarship Programme, which would give at least £3,000 a year towards poorer students' fees or living costs. Critics say it does not go far enough."

Full story, including Aaron Porter's "angry response" to Clegg, here:


Incidentally, the Million+ group, briefly referenced in the article above, issued a press release earlier in the week featuring the full text of Chief Executive Pam Tatlow's letter to Simon Hughes. Worryingly, it read a bit like a Bluffer's Guide to the Browne Review, and included this (hopefully) easy-to-comprehend distinction between research funding and teaching funding. However, see if you can spot the glaring omission:

"The Browne Review of fees and funding was never a review of research funding and Browne did not take any evidence on costs related to research funding. In fact research funding is an entirely separate stream of Government funding determined in different ways from teaching funding. Research funding was significantly expanded by the previous Government and universities in receipt of the majority of this funding benefitted hugely in terms of additional revenue and capital resources. Under the current Government, research funding has been ring-fenced although this will mean reductions in real terms." - http://www.millionplus.ac.uk/press/million-writes-to-simon-hughes-ahead-of-access-agreements-publication

That previous Labour government's highly unpopular ditching and replacement of the RAE doesn't get a mention anywhere in the text...