UK Universities now using entrance tests
One in seven UK universities now using entrance tests
UK, July 21, 2008: One in seven universities is now using entrance tests as part
of its selection procedures, a report says.
The Universities UK (UUK) report says 14% of higher education institutions
now use one or more written tests.
Such tests are thought very useful for identifying very able applicants on
high-demand courses but are not limited to these, the UUK report says.
But it warns that tests could place an extra financial burden on would-be
students from poorer backgrounds.
Both Oxford and Cambridge universities use entrance tests for at least some
subjects, and other universities use admission tests for students wanting to
study medicine or law.
In June, Imperial College London said it would be introducing entrance tests
for courses other than medicine because grade inflation had made it difficult to
use A-level results to distinguish the best students.
The UUK report also suggests that increasing the number of tests used by
universities could lead to "an undesirable (and profitable) industry that would
provide coaching for those who could afford it".
Liberal Democrat universities and skills spokesman Stephen Williams said
there was a risk that universities selecting by exam could act as a further
barrier to widening participation.
"Taking such tests can be costly and pupils from better-off backgrounds are
more likely to be 'coached' in advance.
"Ministers should at least give serious consideration to radically
overhauling the admissions system so that students apply after they receive
their A-level results.
"Bright pupils who have not considered applying to university may then
rethink their decision once they have got their results.
"It would also give institutions more confidence in prospective students'
abilities, rather than expecting them to rely on predicted grades," Mr Williams
However, the Universities UK report warned that there was not enough time
between the publication of A-level results and the beginning of the university
year in September and October for admissions to be decided and processed.
"The need for more time to complete a post-qualification admissions process
than the summer period allows has led to suggestions that the start of the
university year should be deferred to the following January."
This could affect candidates from backgrounds with little or no financial
support in the intervening period and could lead to a loss of enthusiasm for
higher education, it added.
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Madrassas educate more girls than government schools: Jalandhari
Karachi, July 21, 2008: The secretary general of a body of madrassas in Pakistan, Qari Muhammad Hanif Jalandhari, has said that
the government's policy being prepared on seminaries must be done in
consultation with all madrassa boards as a unilateral policy or decision will
not be acceptable.
The secretary general of the Wafaqul Madaris Al
Arabia Pakistan said this at a press conference Saturday at a restaurant
adjacent to Jamia Binoria Al-Almia in SITE Town. "Recent statements made by the
authorities on madrassas have become a mission and a routine intended to please
foreign rulers," Qari Jalandhari said. "They levy false and baseless accusations
against madrassas even though seminaries in Pakistan are involved in spreading
education and promoting literacy." The top cleric maintained that seminaries
have built a network of students and NGOs the likes of which have not been seen
even in the developed world.
"We will not accept any policy made by the
government which destroys our independence, our own educational identity, in the
name of welfare and improvement," Qari Jalandhari said. "Instead they should
focus on issues which have not yet been addressed," he suggested, "because we
believe in resolving issues through dialogue and in the past we have always
settled differences through dialogue."
The registration of seminaries,
the addition of English, Math, Science and other subjects to the curricula and
visas to foreign students were matters settled with previous governments through
dialogue, he said. "But the present government is delaying the implementation of
these policies." If the government does not give up using these delay tactics,
the madrassa boards will be forced to rethink their policies.
Jalandhari said that the former government wanted to deport foreign students but
madrassa leaders and ulema or scholars held talks and it was decided that any
student who had a no-objection certificate from his country of origin and a
letter of admissions from a madrassa would be allowed to complete his education.
The matter of newly admitted foreign students has been in a deadlock for the
last four years and so new students from abroad are still not being given study
visas, he said.
For those students who are already studying here, it was
decided that their visas will be extended. However, the reality is that no such
visas are being extended. Recently, Federal Home Secretary Kamal Shah gave Jama
Binoria Principal Mufti Muhammad Naeem verbal assurances that blacklisted
students will be taken off the blacklist and given extended visas. However, Shah
has now refrained from keeping this promise.
For his part, Mufti Muhammad
Naeem of Jamia Binoria, said to the media that after the Lal Masjid incident,
they would not give the government "enough time to take any more lives". "We
will not rest until the visas of our foreign students are extended," Mufti Naeem
said. He also warned the government that the power to make changes in the
syllabus lay with the madrassa boards and that syllabuses developed by
"Westerners" (i.e. Lord McCauley) will not be acceptable.
Principal Mufti Muhammad Naeem, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan Karachi President Qari
Muhammad Usman and others also spoke. Usman said that the JUI-F is a coalition
partner but will oppose any harmful policies for madrassas. The JUI-F will issue
a call for efforts against them from Karachi to Khyber.
PPI adds: The
scholars also said that seminaries have more female students than government-run
schools. They demanded the government recognize the positive role they played
and lift undue restrictions from them. They also demanded the US and NATO
withdraw their forces from the Pakistani border, "otherwise 1.7 million seminary
student would play their role to defend the country." He questioned why the
Pakistani government was bent on expelling these students when the Indian
government was inviting foreign students to study in their seminaries, even
though it was called a secular state. Daily Times
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University employees seek VC's removal
Hyderabad: A large number of employees of the Sindh Agriculture
University held a demonstration outside the press club here on Sunday, demanding
removal of the university's vice-chancellor Dr Basheer Ahmed
Leaders of SAU Employees Action Committee Hussain Bux Veesar,
Karam Ali Punhoon and Syed Abdul Majeed said that Dr Shaikh whose tenure was
extended after retirement and his team of retired officials had failed to
improve the university's conditions.
They accused the VC, his sons and
retired officials hired by the VC of corruption and alleged that Dr Shaikh and
his team had filled their own coffers at the cost of the university.
alleged that Mr Shaikh had destroyed Shah Latif University when he was the
varsity's vice-chancellor and now he was bent on destroying the Agriculture
They said that the employees had signed many agreements with
the VC after protests but the administration had never honoured them. They held
the VC responsible for the continued protest and demanded his
SNF: A group of Sindh National Front activists staged a
demonstration outside the press club on Sunday in protest against registration
of a case against their colleagues, Noor Nabi Halepoto and Salar Burfat, at
Jamshoro police station.
SNF leaders Muzaffar Sehto, Pervez Solangi and
Shafiq Solangi said that the case was false. Their colleagues had been
implicated in it after they raised voice against land grabbers, they
They said that police were conducting raids on the residences of
their colleagues and warned that if the case was not withdrawn they would launch
a movement throughout the province. Dawn
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