Overhaul of UCAS system

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the UK’s equivalent to the CAO, has made a proposal for the complete overhaul of the university admissions system.

As it stands, the system consists of a student’s application, consequent interview and subsequent provisional offer followed by an acceptance after A-level results are announced.

University offers are made on the basis of a successful interview as well as the predicted grades supplied by the applicant’s second level institution. It was found that only 51.7 per cent of the predications are in fact accurate and 41.7 per cent are over-estimations.

As a result, the proposed system would see A-level examinations taking place earlier in the academic year, with results being announced in July. Students would then, after receiving their grades, be asked to apply to two of their chosen universities – a decrease from the five options students have at the moment. To allow sufficient time for applications to be processed, the academic year would then commence in October.

Universities Minister, David Willetts supported the plan, stating that, “making the university application process simpler and more efficient would be good news for students. It is important that applicants understand how the system works and that any unnecessary burdens on institutions are removed”.

No room for new societies in University of British Columbia

Due to a slightly outdated accounting system, the University of British Columbia can only allow the formation of fifteen more societies before they hit their maximum capacity.

The system currently has a capacity for 999 accounts, only 400 of which are reserved for student societies. To make room for new ventures, the accounts of old and inactive societies are being frozen. This year these included, among others, the Canadian Afghanistan Partnership Club and the UBC Green Party.

The introduction of an entirely new system would cost between $20,000 and $40,000 and would be cause to retrain the entire staff according to Societies and Clubs (SAC) Vice-Chair Alannah Johnson.

AMS President, Jeremy McElroy stated that “we feel that with more than 360 clubs right now, all of the club office and lockers accounted for, and our already overworked administrative staff, any significant increase in the number of clubs is next to impossible”.

The SUB, where the various clubs and societies are located, is also lacking in space, having been built in 1968 when the University was much smaller and had fewer groups to accommodate.

Twenty-four people arrested at London protest

Twenty-four people were arrested when British students marched in protest of higher education reforms on November 9th.

2,000 protesters were estimated to have taken part, with three helicopters and 4,000 police officers being present to supervise what was described as a “mostly peaceful” event. They were deployed “to facilitate peaceful protests” according to a representative of Scotland Yard.

Two days prior to the protest, Scotland Yard Commander Simon Pountain made an announcement authorising police to fire plastic bullets at protesters “in extreme circumstances”.

A number of the arrests took place after a breakaway group pitched twenty-six tents in Trafalgar Square at the base of Nelson’s column. Twelve of the twenty-four arrests were for breaches of the peace, one for the possession of an offensive weapon, three for going equipped and three for public order offences.

15,000 students were expected to attend, a figure that is speculated to have dropped due to individuals feeling too intimidated to attend after receiving a letter describing the necessity of a peaceful march and the consequences of antisocial behaviour. These letters were sent out to all those who had been arrested within the past year.