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Latest education news, comment and analysis on schools, colleges, universities, further and higher education and teaching from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice

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    Eddie Ndopu defied expectations as the first African with a disability to graduate from Oxford. Now he wants to be the first wheelchair user in space

    Eddie Ndopu was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy when he was two. His mother was told he wouldn’t live past five. But he defied the doctors and now aged 27 insists no child with a disability should be left behind. He became the first African with a disability to graduate from Oxford University. He describes himself as young, black, disabled and queer, and “a living manifestation of possibility – 90% of children with a disability across the developing world don’t have access to education … I don’t want us to just have the ramp, I want us to have the whole building.” He has just become a global ambassador for humanity and inclusion.

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    Universities are on the defensive over policy and funding, but it’s time to reset the agenda – we need them more than ever

    Since 1970, the world’s population has essentially doubled. That’s a striking figure in itself, but there’s another to set alongside it: enrolment in the world’s universities has increased six-fold.

    In China, Africa, India and Latin America, new universities are being established and increasing numbers of young people are flocking to them. Participation in higher education in China has risen to over 45%. In South Korea, perhaps the world’s most technologically advanced economy, it’s above 70%. The world is becoming more educated.

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    OED wants young people to share their ‘particularly elusive’ language, as it evolves through media such as Snapchat and WhatsApp

    The venerable Oxford English Dictionary has launched an appeal to teenagers, hoping they can help it get to grips with slippery teenage slang such as “hench” and “dank”.

    Citing its aim to “record all distinctive words that shape the language, old and new, formal and informal”, the OED said that slang terms were “always challenging” for dictionary editors to track. Young people’s language today is “particularly elusive”, because terms change rapidly and communication methods such as WhatsApp and Snapchat have made it more difficult to monitor the changing vocabulary.

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    ‘I’ve had hip surgery once, shoulder surgery twice, my left knee needs replacing and my back is ruined. This was their farewell to football – and mine too’

    Football was everything to me in my teenage years. My father and grandfather played, so there was never any question that I would. But when I was offered football scholarships, I turned them down to study the arts. Coming back 20 years later to shoot the game I gave up for photography gave me a rush of nostalgia.

    This shot is of the Vikings, a high-school team in Phoenix, Arizona. I chose this school because it was like the one I attended, with the same vast array of social, economic and ethnic backgrounds. I spent the whole season with the Vikings, getting to know the boys and their families. I realised how much the game meant to them – and how much it still means to me.

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    Politicians promised that expansion would produce jobs and social mobility. Neither have materialised

    In any other area it would be called mis-selling. Given the sheer numbers of those duped, a scandal would erupt and the guilty parties would be forced to make amends. In this case, they’d include some of the most eminent politicians in Britain.

    But we don’t call it mis-selling. We refer to it instead as “going to uni”. Over the next few days, about half a million people will start as full-time undergraduates. Perhaps your child will be among them, bearing matching Ikea crockery and a fleeting resolve to call home every week.

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    The UK’s withdrawal from the EU is drawing closer, but the picture remains uncertain. What do our EU partners think?

    As the March 2019 deadline for Britain leaving the European Union looms ever closer, much is still to be resolved about how universities will engage with Europe. There is a lot at stake. European students account for more than 80,000 of the 1.6 million first-time undergraduates at UK universities, and nearly 50,000 postgraduates.

    Applications from European students have remained buoyant since the referendum. But the Higher Education Policy Institute think tank has predicted that numbers could crash by as much as 60% when Britain leaves. European students joining in 2019-20 will continue to pay the same fees as their UK counterparts, but their long-term status remains unclear. A leaked Home Office report last year sparked alarm by revealing plans for the same stringent checks on academic ability, language skills and finances as international students.

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    Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt’s book sets out to rescue students from ‘microaggressions’ and identity politics. But perhaps they merely resist change that might undermine them

    In the decade since the 2008 global financial crisis, while all other forms of consumer debt have shrunk, student loan debt has tripled. Currently around 44.2 million Americans owe a total of more than $1.5tn, and 30% of these are struggling to make monthly payments. Meanwhile, college teachers are increasingly likely to live from contract to low-paid contract. None of this comes up in The Coddling of the American Mind, a book about why young people feel anxious and college is making it worse.

    Instead, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt focus on students demanding “protection” from arguments they find challenging and the professors and administrators who cave in to them. The first section elaborates what the authors call the “Great Untruths” that supposedly dominate college campuses: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Weaker; Always Trust Your Feelings; Life Is a Battle Between Good People and Evil People. Their targets are “safetyism”, the language of microaggressions, identity politics and intersectionality. Generation “iGen”, the one that comes after millennials, is, according to the authors, suffering a mental health crisis because of smartphone addiction and the paranoid parenting style of the upper middle class.

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    It was devastating at the time, but I met amazing people who helped me pursue a career in medical science

    I was 14 years old when I was told I had cancer. It was just before Christmas in 2009 and I’d had terrible pain in my side for several weeks. After being seen at four different hospitals, I ended up at Birmingham children’s hospital. It was there that I was told I had alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, words that meant absolutely nothing to me at first. I soon realised they meant cancer.

    Before my diagnosis, I was far more concerned with schoolwork and my friends – normal things 14-year-olds have to deal with. But my world had suddenly been turned upside down. I now had to deal with countless hospital tests and appointments, doctor visits and treatments. I lost all my hair – I even lost my eyebrows and eyelashes, which was especially hard to come to terms with.

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    New exhibition at Royal College of Physicians highlights 500 years of women’s struggle to get their foot in the door of the medical profession

    Medicine is not a welcoming world for women, even in 2018. Women hold a tiny proportion of Britain’s professorial medical posts, while the NHS has a 23% gender pay gap. Just last month Tokyo Medical University admitted it had tampered with female students’ exam scores to stop them getting in, fearing they would put their careers on hold to get married and have children.

    This pernicious culture of sexism and scaremongering is nothing new. It has been deployed for centuries to bar women from the profession and to trivialise their contributions as doctors.

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    The government is reviewing the future of tuition fees. Lowering costs for low-income students could be the answer

    In most countries, there is a chasm between the proportion of richer people who make it to higher education and the proportion of poorer people who do so. Introducing means-tested fees could be a way to address this.

    Means-tested fees offer a “third way” between systems with no fees but tightly-controlled student numbers (like Scotland) and systems with fees that are so high they could be squeezing out good students (as in England).

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    With banners at some school gates we want to hear what cuts mean and how they are being explained to parents and community

    A cursory look at recent headlines speaks of deep problems in school funding in the UK. Special needs funding is at crisis point, sixth form and FE funding has fallen by a fifth since 2010, children are raising money for their own education and headteachers are using cash for disadvantaged pupils to prop up budgets.

    Related: School cuts: ‘Children now raise money for their own education’

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    Associate Professor Jochen Brocks from the Australian National University shares a discovery which found a fossilised lifeform that existed 558m years ago. The Dickinsonia fossil has been identified as the oldest known animal, according to Brock's new research

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    Fifty-four student residential towers have material similar to that at Grenfell Tower

    Thousands of students arriving at university for freshers’ week face sleeping in high-rise accommodation wrapped in combustible Grenfell-style cladding, the government has admitted.

    Fifty-four privately owned student residential towers in England remain clad in aluminium composite material similar to that which helped spread the fire at Grenfell Tower 15 months ago, claiming 72 lives. The extent of the problem was revealed in figures released on Thursday by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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    Guardian learns Amy Chua said she would advise students on their physical looks to help win post in Kavanaugh’s chambers

    A top professor at Yale Law School who strongly endorsed supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a “mentor to women” privately told a group of law students last year that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s female law clerks all “looked like models” and would provide advice to students about their physical appearance if they wanted to work for him, the Guardian has learned.

    Amy Chua, a Yale professor who wrote a bestselling book on parenting called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, was known for instructing female law students who were preparing for interviews with Kavanaugh on ways they could dress to exude a “model-like” femininity to help them win a post in Kavanaugh’s chambers, according to sources.

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    Brushbox aimed ‘foul’ marketing campaign at first-year university students across the UK

    A toothbrush subscription company has apologised after attracting heavy criticism for a “foul” marketing campaign aimed at first-year students arriving at universities across the UK.

    Brushbox admitted that the inclusion of a beer mat with a suggestive image of a woman’s mouth drooling a white substance resembling semen, with the phrase “spit or swallow” on the reverse, was an error of judgment.

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    Report finds schools unwilling to take refugees over fears their results will be affected

    Refugee and asylum-seeking children face long delays accessing education after arriving in the UK, in many cases because schools are reluctant to offer them a place over fears they will lower GCSE results and affect school league tables.

    Research by the children’s charity Unicef, seen exclusively by the Guardian, found not a single region in the UK had successfully met the 20-school-day target for finding places for all the unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) in their care.

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    Which? University finds several institutions persisting with misleading claims

    British universities continue to put out exaggerated claims about their international reputations, an investigation has found, despite a crackdown by the advertising regulator aimed at putting a stop to misleading assertions about rankings and results.

    Which? University found several institutions have persisted in making potentially misleading statements about their positions in global league tables, in one case building a claim into Google search results.

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    If the great rupture is really coming, perhaps we can take back control by refusing to be culturally isolated

    For someone who occasionally seems unsure whether their wife is Japanese or Chinese, Jeremy Hunt seems to speak pretty good Japanese.

    Unless bits of it were Chinese, obviously. Given the way things have gone lately for Theresa May’s government we probably shouldn’t rule anything out, but let’s just assume the Tokyo audience he addressed in their native tongue this week wasn’t just being polite and that he did actually deliver the whole speech in the correct language.

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    As the 2018 civil service graduate scheme opens, we ask what kind of people are likely to be successful

    The 2018 civil service fast stream programme is now open, and if previous years are anything to go by, thousands of eager graduates will be considering whether to apply for one of the 15 schemes available.

    The fast stream programme is one of the UK’s most popular graduate schemes, with 32,450 applicants in 2016 (the most recent year for which figures are available). For the successful candidates – and in 2016, that was just 1,245 people – the potential rewards are large. Fast streamers are paid £28,000 while they are on the scheme but will then be looking at a salary of up to £55,000 after three years’ training, and many will be aiming for the highest positions in Whitehall.

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    As a party member I want to see Angela Rayner bringing forward election-winning ideas, not more of the same

    I’ve been a teacher for the past five years at an inner London academy, and I’ve seen the injustices that education professionals, students and their parents face first-hand. State schools are chronically underfunded, while elite private school fees cost up to £30,000 a year. Ofsted and school league tables are used to enforce a narrow vision of education, and an Institute of Education report this week has found that teachers in England have the lowest job satisfaction of all English-speaking countries.

    Perhaps most importantly, students are suffering: the OECD has reported that young people in the UK are among the unhappiest in the world. This is the result of 40 years of education “reforms” driven by a rightwing political agenda, favouring privatisation, obsessive testing and endless competition between students and between schools – as if these were things to be celebrated in themselves.

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