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More Indian brides are now educated; public attitudes need to change

Huffington Post (India), 10/02/2015, Ridhi Kashyap and Albert Esteve

Blog by Ridhi Kashyap, a PhD student in sociology, who writes: ‘More women are going into higher education than ever before and that rise is set to continue. This is a success story for India, yet our research, published in the journal, Demography, highlights that the custom of men marrying women who are less educated than they are remains widespread… Population projections by age and educational attainment suggest that by 2050 a high proportion of Indian women will be as educated, if not more so, than men. So isn't it time that men (and their families) started to celebrate this fact, viewing a good education as yet another attribute in a bride?’

Read more on the Huffington Post website (opens new window)

Radio: Analysis – You Can’t Say That, BBC Radio 4

09/02/2015, 20:02

Edward Stourton examines whether the right to speak freely is the same as the right to offend. Contributors from the University of Oxford include Dr Carol Atack, who teaches classics at the University; Gavin Flood, Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion; Nicholas Cronk, Director of the Voltaire Foundation and Professor of French Literature; and Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies.

Listen again on the BB Radio 4 website (opens new window)

How to stop the tech giants turning us into techo-serfs

New Statesman online, 09/02/2015, Martin Moore

Comment: Martin Moore, director of the Media Standards Trust and a Research Associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, writes about the dominance of large internet companies and how government policy could and should influence how these companies behave.

Read more on the New Statesman website (opens new window)

Ministers’ maths plans just don't add up

The Guardian, 10/02/2015, p.37, Warwick Mansell

Round-up of education news asks whether ministers’ moves to insist on “traditional” methods of calculation in primary school maths will really raise standards, noting that Anne Watson, emeritus professor of mathematics education at Oxford University, has highlighted some sample future key stage 2 Sats questions, made available to schools by the government’s testing agency. One features long multiplication, with pupils asked to calculate 2376 x 15 – presented for them in columns. They are then asked to divide 1652 by 28. If pupils get an answer wrong, they are given half marks if they used a ‘traditional’ calculation method, but none if they tried to get to the answer another way. Watson says the best mathematicians are able to think ‘flexibly’, and should be able to call on multiple calculation techniques and that non-formulaic methods are likely to be the best approach in both cases. She says: ‘Teachers are effectively being told by the government that questions like these have to be done by long multiplication and division. This works against the flexible number sense that we would want all children to develop.’

Read more on The Guardian website (opens new window)

‘Ideology’ undermining standards in education, warn researchers

Times Higher Education online, 08/02/2015, John Elmes

Ian Menter, president of the British Educational Research Association and director of professional programmes at the University of Oxford, has said that a teacher education system based on ‘ideologies or prejudices’ will hinder those wanting to improve standards. He made the comments in a presentation to the Westminster Education Forum on using academic research and pupil data in education. He added that creating a successful system where research is embedded in practice would be dependent on growing ‘strong alliances’ based on ‘shared commitment to educational improvement for all children and young people’.

Read more on The Times Higher Education website (opens new window)

Is your TV watching you?

The Independent, 10/02/2015, p.34, Memphis Barker

Article about Smart TVs and the idea of household items that can monitor the home environment using technology features comment from Ian Brown, professor of information security and privacy at the Oxford Internet Institute.

Read more on The Independent website (opens new window)

Corporate cash piles targeted in hunt for growth

Financial Times, 10/02/2015, p.8, Ferdinando Giugliano

Governments are starting to shift their focus onto the cash piles corporations have squirrelled away in the past decade. Last week, Barack Obama took aim at the more than $2 trillion in US profits parked abroad by companies seeking to avoid paying taxes at home, proposing a 14 per cent levy. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, spoke of the need for fiscal policy in the eurozone to help ‘recycle’ private savings. Giorgia Maffini, a researcher at Oxford University’s Centre for Business Taxation comments: ‘The US really has a competitive disadvantage. The current system explains why a lot of innovative companies leave their cash abroad.’

Read more on The Financial Times website (opens new window)

Sir David Watson dies aged 65

Times Higher Education online, 09/02/2015, Chris Parr

Sir David Watson, one of the UK’s leading higher education academics and Principal of Green Templeton College, Oxford, has died at the age of 65. Sir David, who was also professor of higher education at the University of Oxford, led the University of Brighton to gaining university status in 1992 and continued as vice-chancellor for another 13 years. He was a member of the Dearing review of higher education in the 1990s and professor of higher education at the Institute of Education (now part of University College London) between 2005 and 2010. As a prolific and influential higher education commentator, he was knighted in 1998 for his services to the sector. A tribute published on Green Templeton’s website describes Sir David as “an energetic ‘hands-on’ head of house who was involved in every aspect of College life”. “He demonstrated outstanding dedication in his leadership of the College’s dynamic, influential and friendly community of students, fellows and staff, which focuses on understanding the issues of managing human welfare in the modern world,” it says, describing his legacy as “enormous”.

Read more on The Times Higher Education website (opens new window)