Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education: News

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The Week in Higher Education: News

Article excerpt

- If it had wanted to, the Home Office could have issued a loud raspberry to its critics in the higher education sector after figures showed a rise in visa applications for university study. Overall net migration contracted by 10,000 to 153,000 in the year to September 2012, according to Office for National Statistics data released on 23 May, but the decrease is largely the result of a fall in overseas student applicants, The Guardian reported. Figures for sponsored student visa applications for March 2013 show a 10 per cent drop compared with the previous year. However, the fall is focused on further education and English language schools (both down 46 per cent): university visa applications have risen by 5 per cent. Instead of a raspberry, Mark Harper, the immigration minister, blew kisses and whispered sweet nothings about the UK's "world-class universities", continuing the shift in Home Office rhetoric.

- Dubbed "the Nobel Prize factory" for its astonishing successes, Cambridge's Laboratory of Molecular Biology is known for housing some of the world's top scientists, but it seems the Duke of Edinburgh thinks otherwise. During a visit to the Medical Research Council-run lab last week, 91-year-old Prince Philip asked a Polish research student: "Did you come here to pick raspberries?" the Cambridge News reported on 24 May. Palace aides might like to remind the Duke that the concept of Polish emigre scientists is fairly well known, as champions of double Nobel laureate Marie Curie will attest. His friends in higher education might also like to remind him that propagating the idea of foreign students as unskilled economic migrants is neither accurate nor helpful.

- Seeing the future leaders of the nation get legless usually sends the national press into a frenzy of excitement, but coverage of the Oxbridge May Balls was rather flat this year. Events at the Pounds 150-a-head Last Ball, hosted by Somerville College, Oxford and Jesus College, Oxford, were reported by The Tab Cambridge, their ancient rival's student newspaper, on 25 May. "All the alcohol (with the exception of rum) had run out by 1am, and by 4am even that had run out," it said. …

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