‘Two Britains’ qualifications gap emerges in study

There are huge local variations in levels of education within Britain’s adult population, reveals an analysis published by a lecturers’ union. Writes the BBC Online.

It shows “two Britains” divided by a wide educational gulf, says the University and College Union.

In the Glasgow North East constituency 35% of adults have no qualifications, in Birmingham Hodge Hill it is 33%.

In contrast, in London’s Brent North only 1.9% of the working-age population has no qualifications.

Social divide
It shows that in some southern constituencies it has become very unusual not to have qualifications – while in parts of the West Midlands it remains widespread.

There are more people without qualifications in Birmingham Hodge Hill than in Cambridge, Winchester, Wimbledon, Buckingham, Romsey, Leeds North West and four other constituencies put together.

Sally Hunt, the UCU’s general secretary, warned of a deep social divide.

“Education is central to our country’s future, yet in some areas thousands of people still have no qualifications.

“There is a real danger that children, growing up in places where it is not unheard of to have no qualifications, will have their ambition blunted and never realise their full potential.”

The figures from the Office for National Statistics, and analysed by the lecturers’ union, show the percentages of people aged between the ages of 16 and 64 without any qualifications in parliamentary constituencies in England, Scotland and Wales, up to December 2010.

It reveals concentrations of low educational achievement – including parts of Glasgow, Birmingham, Derby and Bradford, where more than a quarter of the adult population is without a single qualification.

National differences
The lowest-achieving region for education is identified as the West Midlands – with 26 out of 29 seats in the area below the national average in terms of the proportion of adults without qualifications.

Many of the areas with the best-educated workforces are in London and the South East. In places such as Wimbledon and Winchester, only about one in 40 of working-age adults does not have a qualification.

The union also identifies London as being a “city full of contrasts”, with big differences in areas that are geographically side by side. For instance, Hackney South has twice as many unqualified residents as Hackney North.

The country’s best-educated population, by this measure, is Brent North, in the Wembley area of north-west London, where more than 98% of adults have a qualification.

Many of the lowest educational results in the London region are in the east of capital.

Barking, Ilford South, Romford, Hornchurch, Walthamstow, West Ham and East Ham are all in the lowest-achieving group of London seats.

There were also differences between countries in Britain: England had the best record, followed by Scotland and then Wales.

The lecturers’ union says that this map of achievement and underachievement underlines the importance of improving access to education.

And it says that it shows the coalition government has been wrong to increase university tuition fees and to scrap education maintenance allowances.

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Cemetery Images : Chorley, Lancashire – Fully Uploaded (via Ancestry Central)

Cemetery Images : Chorley,  Lancashire - Fully Uploaded The main cemetery at Chorley, Lancashire now fully uploaded at http://www.ancestrycentral.co.uk The above cemetery are available to download at Ancestry Central (www.ancestrycentral.co.uk – go to find a grave – Select Cemetery/name etc) Please also explore the other collections and revisit as I start to add my collection. Download for personal use is Free. Please note this is a small personal collection, but large enough to be worth displaying … Read More

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Students put off by top-rate university fees

YOUNG people fear they could be priced out of higher education after the University Of Hull was given permission to charge the top rate of £9,000.

The Office For Fair Access (OFFA) confirmed the university in Cottingham Road would be allowed to charge £9,000 in tuition fees from next year.

The go-ahead comes after OFFA said it was satisfied with measures the university had put in place to make sure students from underprivileged backgrounds were not disadvantaged.

Every university that wanted to charge more than £6,000 in fees had to have proposals for recruiting poorer students approved by OFFA.

But students said the fees were creating a class divide.

Tara Downing, 16, a student at St Mary’s College, said: “The tuition fee hike is ridiculous, almost disgusting.

“It categorises poorer people, creating a social divide

“I now know I will not go to university in England.

“It’s ironic because I want to study English Literature, but now I think I will have to go to a university in Amsterdam or Hungary. I cannot believe that studying abroad is a cheaper option.”

Eve Winter, 16, also a student at St Mary’s College said: “I am definitely put off applying for university now because it is such a large amount of money.

“I think I would be better off to seek out an apprenticeship rather than applying to university as it is a much cheaper option.”

The University Of Hull was one of 123 whose access agreements were approved by the Government yesterday.

In Hull, the package to help disadvantaged students includes “substantial financial support”, which will be made available through fee waivers, scholarships and bursaries.

However, the detail and numbers of students likely to be offered bursaries and scholarships is still being worked out by senior officials.

As part of its access agreement, the university has put aside £4.7 million to offer help to disadvantaged students next year.

This will rise to £5.5 million in 2015.

The access agreement will be reviewed on a yearly basis by the Government.

If the university fails to meet targets on recruitment and retention of underprivileged students, it could face a fine or losing the right to charge more than £6,000.

Now, colleges are making it their priority to ensure students are aware of the financial help available.

David Cooper, vice-principal at Wilberforce College, in east Hull, said: “A lot of the bursaries are shrouded in administrative jargon, so the students do not understand the funds that are available.

“We tried to ensure the students understand the repayment scheme and do not feel scared by the big sums of money.

“Our main focus is that the students make an informed decision.”

Hull Daily Mail

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British Students looking at foreign options to avoid large fees

British students may study abroad instead of paying higher tuition fees due to be introduced in the UK next September, writes the local News in Worcester.

Sixth-formers are also looking at going straight into employment, studying part-time or attending university locally and living at home as alternatives to full-time education at the most expensive universities.

Pauline Mason, Worcester sixth form college’s head of student services, said students were thinking more carefully about their options in light of the dramatic rise in tuition fees from 2012.

Mrs Mason said: “Students are concerned about tuition fees which means they are looking at alternatives.”

She has recently returned from a fact-finding trip to 10 universities in America after a rise in queries from students.

We reported recently how sixth-form college student Leanne Gelder, from Claines, Worcester, had been offered a place at two American universities.

Miss Gelder, aged 19, said she believed attending an American university could give her an advantage with potential employees in a tough jobs market.

During the two-week trip, Mrs Mason visited Ivy League institutions Har-vard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown as well as liberal arts universities Williams and Amhurst.

Mrs Mason said: “Some of the private universities in the States will offer substantial financial support.

“If a student is very bright and comes from a low income family it could be more attractive financially (than studying in the UK).

“We are also looking at Europe, because in some countries the fees are lower than they are in the UK.

“The main thing is the students should think through all the options and that’s what we are trying to encourage them to do.

“We want to give them information so they can make an informed decision.”

Mrs Mason said studying locally was also proving popular but was already on the increase before the rise in tuition fees was announced.

According to the Univer-sity of Worcester, its projections for 2012 already look promising after it welcomed 1,022 potential students to an open day on Sunday, June 26 – when normally it would expect between 600 and 700.

The university may have an advantage over some institutions after it decided against charging the maximum £9,000 and raised fees for undergraduate degrees to £8,100 instead.

A spokeswoman for the university said: “It’s good that people are coming and looking around and asking questions and taking a look at the university.”
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Erasmus: Record number of students receive EU grants for study and training abroad

Erasmus 1469-1536

Brussels – More than 213 000 students received ‘Erasmus’ grants to study or train abroad during the 2009/10 academic year – a new record and 7.4% increase on the previous year’s figure. Erasmus is the world’s most successful student exchange programme and, on current trends, the EU will reach its target of supporting 3 million European students by 2012/13 since the programme’s launch in 1987. The three most popular destinations for students in 2009/10 were Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Spain sent the largest number of students abroad, followed by France and Germany. 61% of Erasmus students were female in the year in question. The EU invested € 415 million in Erasmus in 2009/10.

“The Erasmus programme is one of the great success stories of the European Union. The latest figures speak for themselves: Erasmus is more popular than ever and I am committed to securing more resources for it in future. Studying or training abroad opens doors to personal development and job opportunities so we are right to be ambitious when it comes to investing in our young people,” said Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth.

Of the total number of students supported through Erasmus in 2009/10, 178 000 spent part of their degree programme abroad at a university or other higher education institution in one of 32 countries then participating in the Erasmus initiative (27 Member States, Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey. Switzerland became the 33rd country to join Erasmus this year). The number of students choosing the study option increased by 5.7% compared with 2008/09.

Work placements in companies abroad have been supported through Erasmus since 2007 and are increasingly popular. In 2009/10, 35 000 students (one in six of the total) chose this option. This represents a 17.3% increase on the previous year.

The average monthly Erasmus grant received by students fell by around 7% to €254, due to the increased numbers getting support. Demand strongly exceeds the availability of Erasmus grants in most participating countries. A study carried out for the European Parliament in 2010 stated that only 24% of non-Erasmus students reported not being interested in a study programme abroad.

In addition, 38 000 grants were awarded to university staff and teachers to teach or receive training abroad, 4% more than in the previous year.

Learning mobility is a key objective of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs and the focus of the Commission’s ‘Youth on the Move’ initiative which builds on the success of Erasmus.

An estimated 10% of European students are currently studying or training abroad as part of their higher education; 4% of them receive an Erasmus grant. Last month, the Commission unveiled plans for a new European target aimed at increasing the overall level of student mobility to least 20%.

A recent Eurobarometer survey (IP/11/567) found that many students are thwarted in their ambition to study or train abroad due to a lack of funding. It found that, of those who wanted to go abroad, 33% couldn’t afford it and nearly two-thirds (63%) of those who did had to rely on private funding or savings. “This finding underlines the need to strengthen our mobility programmes, which provide excellent value for money,” said Commissioner Vassiliou.

Studying or training abroad helps young people to develop skills which employers value – from language learning and greater inter-cultural awareness to leadership and adaptability. Erasmus students tend to be more willing to work abroad later in life.

Erasmus has also helped to make higher education in Europe more international and helped to trigger improvements in course quality, comparability and transparency.

Last month, EU Education Ministers adopted a joint plan to remove obstacles to learning mobility and to boost it through additional financing and curricula reforms.

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Poles Living Abroad Want to Study in Cracow

Cracow University of Economics is looking for future students abroad. Young Poles living in America are interested in studying in Cracow – says a daily newspaper “Dziennik Polski”.
The University promoted itself at the first fair of Polish educational institutions, held in Chicago. In total, 19 universities from Poland presented their offers of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral courses and foreign scholarships at the “Polish Chicago University Fair 2011”.

“It was a unique opportunity to reach out with the offer of studying in English to over 25,000 potential candidates” – says Piotr Bednarski from the Press Office of Cracow University of Economics.

The representatives of Polish institution visited the partner university – Roosevelt University in Chicago, which organised the “Day of Cracow University of Economics”. Young American Poles could better learn about Krakow and the opportunities to study at the University of Economics. Both universities plan to cooperate more closely on student and scientific exchange.


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Studying abroad

You may want the opportunity to experience a completely different culture and way of life or are simply getting bored of good old Blighty, but studying abroad is a big commitment. Lydia Fallon, Cambridge News looks at the pros and cons that may affect your decision

Studying abroad can give you the opportunity to enhance your CV and experience a new culture

• It can be a great addition to your CV and ensure you stand out in a competitive job market. Employers will love the fact that you have adapted yourself to a whole new culture and gained language skills. Living in another country away from your friends and family takes you completely out of your comfort zone and employers will respect that. “Studying abroad gives an international edge to any degree which in turn can enhance a student’s future career prospects and make any CV stand apart from the rest,” says Claire Fiumana, Anglia Ruskin’s Study Abroad Adviser.
• You may have never had the opportunity to travel, and studying abroad will allow you to do so while learning at the same time. You can discover a different culture, see some amazing places, meet some really interesting people and gain an international perspective which will benefit you and your future career plans.
• You can learn loads of different life-skills and return more rounded than your fellow graduates. All these skills are transferable and will give your CV the edge. “Studying abroad will enable students to grow as individuals and become more confident and independent,” says Clare.
• Immersing yourself in a different country and culture will improve your language skills no end. There is no better way to learn a language then actually being in the country, conversing with the locals and speaking it every day. Fluency in another language is an extremely desirable trait for potential employers, with so many companies going global, with Chinese being particularly valued.
• It can be a great way to build an international network of friends and contacts. “The advantages to study abroad are not only educational,” says Claire. “Students will learn about different cultures and make new friends from all over the world.”
• It can be really good fun, a once in a life-time experience and an opportunity that won’t come around very often. Sipping sangria by the beach in Spain, eating your weight in cheese in France and exploring the cultural delights of Italy. Tempted?
• Being away from your family and friends is never going to be easy and you’re bound to be homesick at times, particularly at the beginning. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is back in the UK, relationships are likely to suffer which could have a negative impact on your university work. If you doubt your ability to cope with the pressures, you should think really carefully before making the commitment.
• Tuition fees abroad are often less than the UK but you have to consider the cost of getting to the other country, visa fees and living costs. It can all add up, and it’s advisable you have some kind of financial backing whether it is in the way of savings or the parentals.
• Don’t base your decision to study abroad purely on wanting an extended stay in another country. It is risky! If your main priority is travel then consider taking a gap year or doing it during the summer holidays. You do need a genuine interest in the course and need to have researched it thoroughly before committing.
• A different culture and language can make you feel really alienated so do make the effort to learn some key phrases before jetting off. It is also important you are as social as possible, there will be plenty of people in the same position as you, get to know them and you will find life abroad a lot less lonely and daunting.
If you’re considering a year abroad as part of your degree, Anglia Ruskin University offers an exchange programme for undergraduates.
Some degrees have a compulsory semester or year abroad, such as BA (Hons) International Management. But, many full-time students have the opportunity to study overseas as an optional part of their degree. For example, degree courses such as music, communication studies, history, law, sociology, education and computing also have exchange agreements in place.
Additionally, some masters programmes have a semester abroad as an optional part of the course, such as MA intercultural communication and MA international business.
The university has arrangements with over 40 partner institutions in other European countries, USA, Canada, India and Malaysia to enable full-time students to study abroad as part of their course.

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