NUS withdraws support for Free Education demo

first_imgThe National Union of Students (NUS) has decided to withdraw its support for a demonstration in favour of Free Education, which is due to take place on November 19th. The National Executive Committee of the NUS initially voted on September 16th to endorse the demonstration and encourage unions to mobilise for it. However, the organisation’s President Toni Pearce, alongside five NUS Vice-Presidents has since overruled this decision, due to “an unacceptable level of risk that this demonstration currently poses to our members”.The withdrawal of support by the NUS follows OUSU’s decision in 1st Week to provide £200 in funding to provide transport and sell coach tickets to the demonstration. 15 JCRs have also expressed support for the demonstration.The demonstration was initially organised by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), the Student Assembly Against Austerity and the Young Greens, but subsequently acquired NUS support.The statement lays out concerns about the accessibility of the demonstration to disabled students, “inadequate measures” in place to mitigate against unspecified significant risks, the lack of public liability insurance and concerns from NUS Liberation Officers about whether the protest would be a safe space. It is further stated, “We do not believe there is sufficient time between now and the demonstration for these risks to be mitigated.”The release of the statement has been timed in order to give students’ unions “the minimum period” to review the situation and make decisions about whether to participate in the protest.In the penultimate paragraph, signatories state, “The reality we are confronted with is that this demonstration presents an unacceptable level of risk, is not accessible, and does not meet the minimum expectations our members would expect for an action that carries NUS support. NUS has policy to support free education, and we will continue to lobby and campaign for this, but no action that we take should be put above the ability for all our members to be safe. We have gone to considerable lengths to help change that position, by working with the organisers, but that time has now run out.”The statement concludes by saying, “I now hope that student officers across the country understand this decision and make their own decisions about whether to attend the demonstration.”In response to the NUS decision, Beth Redmond, organiser for the NCAFC, told Times Higher Education that the NUS’ stance was “a ridiculous position to take, and directly contradicts the democratic mandate taken by conference and the NEC. We are doing our absolute best on a tiny shoestring budget, and we have been working hard to ensure the demonstration is organised properly.”last_img read more

DONEGAL SOLSTICE WITH A SANDWICH AND A SONG!

first_imgDominic McDermott getting ready to celebrate Solstice this SundayFancy marking this Sunday – the longest day of the year – at Ireland’s most northerly point?Well if you don’t mind the early rise, enjoy a cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich, then Bamba’s Crown at the tip of Malin Head is the place to be!And it’s all thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of an English chap and his Belfast born better half. Dominic McDermott and his wife Andrea operate Ireland most northerly bakery and coffee shop from their home base at Ireland’s most northerly town land, Ballyhillion.They have two mobile coffee shops and from Easter to September their little ‘three wheel baby van’ climbs the hill to Bamba’s Crown where you can treat yourself to delicious fresh Barista coffee, home baked cakes, pastries etc while enjoying the breath taking scenery.Throughout the year there’s a good chance you could meet their ‘grown up van’ at markets, festivals, work places, beaches, shows, weddings etc around Inishowen.This van was custom built for them with a large oven and fridge as well as a Fracino Espresso machine allowing them to bring delicious hot and cold sandwiches and wraps, pies, soups, stews, chilli as well as their fantastic coffee and baking to places other café’s can’t reach The couple decided three years ago that they would like to mark the Solstice by doing something different.“So at Solstice time we decided to come up to Bamba’s Crown at 2.30pm, throw on a barbecue and about 50 people turned up and we thought this was great,” said Dominic.He added: “We did it again last year and about 90 turned up so this year we’ve decided to go for it once more. I know there’s a big event on at the Grianán of Aileach but we just wanted something low key and simple where people could just come, sit on the rocks, have a cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich and watch the sun come up.The sun rises around 4.40am on Sunday, June 21 but if you make it to Malin Head, Dominic and Andrea will be waiting for you from about 3am onwards.“As far as we’re concerned this is now an annual event. This is a really magical place to watch the sun rise and the view is just astounding,” he said Local resident and one of those campaigning for a top quality tourist facility for the area, Ali Farren said they saw the potential Malin Head had to become a major attraction but needed all agencies to get behind the idea and develop it properly.“We have a fabulous history here but it’s our future that’s more important. I reckon the figure of 200,000 visitors a year is conservative because there’s not a day goes by but you meet someone here. We need the infrastructure and the facilities,” he said.Ali and friends will be holding a musical session at Bamba’s Crown on Solstice evening.“Malin Head has seven minutes more sunlight than anywhere else in Ireland because of our location so what better way to end this special day than in the company of musicians from near and far as the sun goes down. They do it everywhere else in the world, why not here,” he said. DONEGAL SOLSTICE WITH A SANDWICH AND A SONG! was last modified: June 18th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Bamba’s CrownCoffeedonegalMalin Headlast_img read more

Data check US producing more STEM graduates even without proposed initiatives

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Country The United States appears to be on pace to meet the Obama administration’s goal of churning out more college graduates in the so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.That conclusion, based on an analysis by ScienceInsider of recent education statistics, may surprise many people. And it is unlikely to cause scientific organizations to hold a ticker tape parade or the White House to issue a self-congratulatory press release.That’s because the growth has occurred despite the failure of Congress to approve most of the new programs and hefty federal investments recommended by high-profile panels and requested by the White House. The news also comes with a caveat: The goal has been a moving target, and the total includes those with a 2-year degree. So some may take issue with the analysis that follows. Email U.S. academic and business leaders have long argued that the country needs a larger tech-savvy workforce to maximize economic growth. The current campaign began in earnest in 2005 when a coalition of pro-research organizations issued a report titled Tapping America’s Potential (TAP). It called for a doubling, by 2015, of the number of STEM bachelor’s degrees awarded annually by U.S. institutions.The doubling would mean an increase from 200,000 a year to 400,000, the report explains. Curiously, it chose 2001 as its baseline year—meaning the decadal doubling would actually occur over 14 years (remedial math, anyone?). If the number rose at a steady pace, by 2015 there would be 1.1 million more STEM graduates than would have been the case under previous production levels.Six months later, a prestigious panel assembled by the National Academies warned Congress that retaining U.S. global competitiveness would require more and better STEM teachers. Its report, called Rising Above the Gathering Storm (RAGS), resulted in a 2007 law that promised to augment STEM teacher training (as well as double research funding in the physical sciences). Congress didn’t keep its promise, however. And RAGS didn’t address whether additional STEM-trained workers were needed, although it said that the 10,000 additional elementary and secondary school STEM teachers that would be trained would touch “10 million minds.”The Obama administration saw a link, however, and its President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) issued two related reports that, together, recommended increasing both the number of STEM teachers and the number of STEM graduates. In particular, its 2012 report, Engage to Excel, called for producing “one million additional college graduates with bachelor or associate degrees in STEM fields” over the next decade.For PCAST, the clock started in 2010, when the number of such graduates stood at 300,000. President Barack Obama has cited the reports frequently in lobbying Congress for increasing federal investments in STEM education, including a mention in his 2011 State of the Union address of the need for more STEM teachers.Neither the PCAST report nor the TAP report explains how or why it chose a particular number of additional STEM graduates as a goal. And both reports are supply-driven rather than demand-driven; that is, they address the production of STEM graduates but not the likelihood of their finding good jobs. That’s a sore point for those who argue that the nation is actually producing too many graduates in many STEM fields, which keeps wages low and creates underemployment.Leaving aside those points, however, an analysis of data compiled by the National Science Foundation (NSF) shows strong evidence of the desired growth despite the general lack of action on the reports. Specifically, the number of degrees awarded annually in the natural sciences and engineering—NSF’s equivalent of what is normally defined as a STEM field—grew from 241,000 in 2000 to 355,000 in 2012 (see graph). In absolute terms, the 2012 figure is 114,000 more than the 2000 figure. Even if that number grows no larger for the rest of the decade—an extremely conservative estimate, most would say—the additional number of STEM graduates in the overall workforce would exceed the 1 million goal set explicitly by the PCAST report and implicitly by TAP.(Those who think the augmented number of graduates should be based on a strict 10-year span may want to start with the 263,000 STEM graduates produced in 2002. Using that base year, the size of the expanded pool falls just shy of the 100,000-a-year level needed to add 1 million over a decade.)To be sure, these totals use PCAST’s definition of a college degree, which encompasses both the bachelor’s and associate level. The split is roughly six or seven to one: In 2012, for example, there were 53,000 associate degrees in STEM fields out of the total of 355,000 graduates. (Four-fifths of the 2-year STEM degrees awarded were in computer science.)The PCAST report does not suggest what rate of growth is preferred. In particular, it doesn’t opine on whether spikes and troughs matter. However, front-loading the increase makes it much easier to achieve the overall goal.For example, a surge of 100,000 graduates in the first few years—say, an extra 40,000 the first year, and then an additional 60,000 in the second year—would then require only miniscule increases in subsequent years to achieve the target. In contrast, flat production for the first several years would require a huge leap in output in the latter years of the decade.It turns out that the steady rise in actual production over the past decade may also get you where you want to go. Based on the NSF data, that seems like a reasonable bet—even if it runs counter to the conventional narrative. For whatever reason, it appears, U.S. students are finding their own way to a STEM degree. read more