Senior tutors need to end their Norrington fixation

first_imgReading last week’s Cherwell, you would be forgiven for expecting this to be another OUSU campaign stump speech. But you are not going to read about the no-platform policy (nothing more than a political stunt) or how we desperately need OUSU reform (written, oddly enough, by someone who vehemently opposed any last summer). And while it might not seem like it at this time of the year, there are more important things in Oxford than OUSU elections.A group of senior tutors is plotting to remove the opportunity for students to resit preliminary examinations, even though their data suggests that there is little correlation between a poor mark at prelims and a poor mark in finals. And why, you might ask, would they want to do that?The Norrington Table has been controversial since its conception in 1962. Both its fairness and accuracy have been called into question. An inherent bias exists in the calculation of the table, as colleges with a greater number of science students fare better, since a higher proportion achieve firsts compared to arts students. In fact, there seems to be little tangible benefit to ranking colleges, besides petty bragging rights. In recent years, colleges have become focussed on moving up the Norrington Table thanks to its increased exposure in the national media. The pressure on senior tutors to achieve this goal has produced a conflict of interest; they must decide between protecting students or pursuing an arbitrary, NHS-style statistic.This was seen recently, when a senior tutor reprimanded a JCR President for accompanying a fresher to a meeting with her, claiming it elevated the issue to an “official complaint”. No such thing is mentioned in the college regulations. This was nothing more than a cynical attempt by the tutor to keep the fresher in a more vulnerable state, so she would be more easily pressured into leaving, rather than having a solution found to her problems. Indeed, it comes as no surprise that the same senior tutor spent the first page of the college’s Freshers Handbook outlining how failure to get a 2.2 or better at prelims would result in being sent down – hardly the most welcoming introduction to Oxford.Students are underrepresented. You would expect that if you had a serious problem with a tutor, you would have the ability to request a change. This is not the case at most colleges. Likewise, no provisions for a base standard of teaching exist. The student contract introduces “duties” to which a student is bound, yet doesn’t offer any consideration for students in return. Only a vague clause describing undergraduate teaching exists, stating that it “is the responsibility of both the university and college concerned”. Colleges are taking the attitude that it is easier to be rid of students who may pose a problem rather than help. The attitude of tutors is that we should be grateful for our places, and submissive to the university. This insidious behaviour is a disgrace. With such a focus on finals, colleges lose sight of the bigger picture. Tutors focus on teaching the process of jumping through hoops to do well at finals rather than allowing students to explore questions of their own. If performance at finals is the only thing that matters, the tutorial system is rendered irrelevant. Students could be more efficiently taught en masse in lecture halls, which would, ironically, defeat the value of the Norrington Table itself. Performance at finals is obviously important; but not at the risk of sacrificing a broad education and supportive university. Oxford’s tutorial system is revered across the world – and rightly so. Yet there is a risk that we are being turned into an exam factory, churning out students with little to show for their education. A mark in an exam is not the only end product of an education, as cars, chickens or computers might be for their industries. Colleges are faced with a simple choice: aim for short-term gain to their position in the Norrington Table, or protect Oxford’s reputation for academic excellence in the long-term.last_img read more

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UW men’s soccer team going with youth to replace star players

first_imgIn the wake of losing 14 seniors, the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team is raising its expectations of its underclassmen.Last season, AJ Cochran earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, while Tomislav Zadro was awarded Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. However, both Cochran and Zadro have departed. In addition to those players, 12 other seniors graduated last year and left holes to be filled by much younger, and less experienced, players in 2014.Wisconsin head coach John Trask responded by playing eight of the team’s 13 freshmen in UW’s first four games, which he understands can be a difficult way for the players to begin the season.“It’s going to take a while to replace those guys,” Trask said. “We are asking a lot out of freshmen, but having said that, we have an extremely talented freshmen class who is not only healthy defensively, but they are putting numbers on the board as well.”Wisconsin’s freshmen have scored all but one of UW’s goals so far this season, led by Mark Segbers with a team-high three goals. The early experience should bode well for the future of Wisconsin soccer as the team heads into Big Ten play. As the season continues, the Badgers and Trask hope the young players can come together and compete at a high level.Trask said he believes the team is in a good place right now with the improvements he has seen since the beginning of camp, especially from his younger players. He knows that putting the younger players in early games will prepare them for future games and get them up to college speed and skill levels.Improvement on both sides of the ball has come from paying attention to details during practice. If the Badgers cannot control the minor details during practice, they will certainly not compete at the highest levels during games.Wisconsin has been trying to transfer that attention to detail from practice into their games, which has not shown strong results yet. Despite this, the team is coming together and improving at every opportunity on both the offensive and defensive ends.As for changes to the team because of the loss of so many seniors, the Badgers’ offensive strategy has changed because of the loss of Zadro and other offensive players.“Offensively, on free kicks and corner kicks, we have to rely on timing and getting numbers in the box because the crosses aren’t going to be as perfect every time, like when Tomislav was crossing it,” redshirt junior Carl Schneider said.That’s not the only change that has to be made. With Cochran not on the defensive end, the defenders have had to work harder this season to make sure opponents have fewer opportunities for headers and scoring chances.“AJ [Cochran] was a dominant force in the air,” Trask said. “We never had to worry about a head ball dropped in our end of the field when AJ was on the team. So that’s just going to be something that’s ongoing to get better at that by committee rather than one player.”On goal kicks, Cochran was counted on to win headers consistently and to distribute the ball to his teammates. Now that he is gone, the Badgers lack a player that can always go up and win headers, so they have placed more players around the ball in order to fight to take possession of the next ball.All aspects of the game have come down to the numbers of Badgers around the ball. If they have more players surrounding the ball, they will have a better chance of stopping teams from converting on those scoring chances.The last place where Cochran and Zadro will be missed, is their ability to lead by example through their experience, which made it easy for the team to remain levelheaded.“AJ [Cochran] and Tomislav [Zadro] were both just really experienced,” sophomore Brian Hail said. “They played in big games before, and no matter if we went down or it was a very crucial game, they were always levelheaded. They never got too high or too low emotionally.”Trask looks to use his time with new players early on in the season to see which ones step up into leadership positions and which ones steps up as consistent, go-to players.“Younger players, such as myself, need to step up as leaders on and off the field,” Hail said. “I think it’s very important to set a culture and mature in our ways and lead the younger guys into a good season, and hopefully seasons to come.”last_img read more

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Two-year sentence requested for Barcelona president in Neymar affair

first_imgSpanish prosecutors are requesting a prison sentence of two years and three months for Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and seven for his predecessor, Sandro Rosell, over the so-called Neymar affair, judicial sources said on Monday.The Madrid court is also calling for a fine of 22.2 million euros ($24.1 million) against the club over the transfer deal which has been the subject of an anti-corruption probe.The two men and the club are charged with tax fraud and Rosell is also accused of accounting irregularities over his time in charge.Following months of investigation, a Spanish judge must now consider whether the case should go to trial.The judge, Pablo Ruz, said 10 days ago after completing his investigation that the two defendants were suspected of three counts of tax fraud worth a total of 13 million euros ($13.6 million), relating to the signing of the Brazilian striker in 2013.The club has said it paid 57 million euros overall to sign Neymar from Brazilian club Santos, but the judge suspects the real amount was more than 83 million euros. The cost of the deal rose steeply when Barca decided to bring forward an initial agreement signed in 2011 for the player to move in 2014 by a year as other clubs, including rivals Real Madrid, attempted to hijack the deal.Ruz said the various contracts produced “were designed to cover or hide the fact that in reality they represented a higher cost for Barcelona” in order to “avoid or significantly reduce the money paid to the tax authorities”.Rosell resigned over the scandal in January 2014 with his then vice-president Bartomeu taking charge.Shortly afterwards the club confirmed a number of extra agreements including a 10-million euro signing bonus for the player and scouting and collaborative agreements between the two clubs had taken the cost of the total operation to 86.2 million euros.In February of last year, the club announced that they had made a voluntary payment of 13.5 million euros to the Spanish tax authorities regarding the transfer. Bartomeu denied all responsibility when he appeared before an examining magistrate investigating the matter last month.However, prosecutors believe he had full knowledge of the details involved in the transfer given his role as Rosell’s right-hand man.Bartomeu’s involvement is likely to damage his campaign to be elected as president in club elections at the end of the season.last_img read more

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Branson school for small business

first_img27 October 2005For the first time anywhere in the world, international tycoon Sir Richard Branson has lent his name to an educational institution – in the heart of Johannesburg.Cida City Campus, the country’s first virtually free tertiary institution, providing specialised accredited business administration degrees to disadvantaged students, officially launched the Branson School of Entrepreneurship on Wednesday.Entrepreneurship will be one of the 11 courses Cida students study in their first year at the foundation college, which bridges skills such as computing, mathematics and English, and will be offered as an elective course after that.A first batch of foundation year students has already put forward business ideas for which they will be given seed money.British entrepreneurs Tom Bloxam and Leo Caplan have each donated £100 000 (R1.2-million) to the school.“They will get a tiny bit of seed money in the first year, more in the second year and even more in the third year; and the best ideas will get even more at the end,” Branson said. The money will be in the form of a loan, which the students will have to pay back into the business seed-money kitty for use by those following them.Many of the students needed little encouraging, Caplan said at the launch. “I was at Cida this morning, and was ‘pitched’ by no fewer than four students,” he said.Walking in their footprintsTo mark the occasion Branson, with leading South African and British entrepreneurs, left his footprints behind when he placed his feet in concrete to represent “walking in the footprints of global entrepreneurs”. These symbols of inspiration will be placed at the entrance of the school at 27 Harrison Street.The building, donated and renovated by First National Bank, will be named the Nelson Mandela First National Bank Building, as it was here that the former president held meetings in his early years.Cida CEO Taddy Blecher said the school has been established to help qualified students start up and manage their own businesses.“The South African economy is dependent on entrepreneurial activity for creating economic growth and jobs, yet few young South Africans choose to start a business after their studies,” Blecher said.“A myriad reasons explain this, including the lack of role models, no access to capital or training to help them identify viable business opportunities, and the misconception that starting a business is for those who have no other choice. The school has been created to tackle these issues and arm financially disadvantaged students with entrepreneurial skill.”All students will study a module in entrepreneurship in their first year. Thereafter, they will able to specialise in entrepreneurship, entering the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in their second year at Cida.Social entrepreneurshipThe school will also focus on campaigns to boost the image of entrepreneurship as a viable career, and will offer students modules in social entrepreneurship to address social issues.“Being an entrepreneur is not only about making money,” Branson said. “You can also tackle social problems with an entrepreneurial mind. No one should develop Aids, no pregnant mother should be passing on HIV to her baby, and millions should not be dying of malaria. These are just some of the issues we will lead the school into discussing.”Branson pointed out that only 2% of entrepreneurs in South Africa have success with their businesses. “That’s a perilous situation, especially if you consider that many of them have some formal education in entrepreneurship.”Having a school like this will give people a better chance, he added. “Many will succeed and many will fail, but the confidence with which they leave there will be unparalleled.”Branson hopes that the students, by studying companies such as Virgin and working with their staff, will learn that taking a great idea and having the courage to run with it can build great 21st century businesses. “I believe that increasing entrepreneurship in this country is the golden highway to economic freedom – plus it’s an exciting and fun way to make a living.”Start-up funding for the venture comes from Virgin Unite, the charitable arm of Branson’s Virgin Group.“We have come a very long way in this country,” Blecher said. “We overcame apartheid, but the next stage of the struggle in South Africa is the need for economic democracy. We can only truly be free when we build an equal economy.”Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

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Which Hidden Creature are you?

first_imgHave you ever wondered what type of mythical creature you are? Are you elegant and keen-eyed like a Unicorn? Beautiful and fiery like the Phoenix? Strong and shy like a Yeti? Take this quiz to find out which one of the Hidden Creatures you are!The search for Hidden Creatures begins on June 27! Are you ready?Take the quiz!Share with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedFrom Sketch to Souvenir: the artist behind Hidden CreaturesJune 19, 2018In “News”Uncover a new world of Hidden CreaturesJune 5, 2018In “News”Last chance! Collect all 13 Hidden CreaturesJuly 17, 2018In “News”last_img read more

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National Minerals Policy to be submitted to Cabinet

first_img Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, says Cabinet is to receive a submission shortly on the National Minerals Policy (NMP) for the management and development of Jamaica’s mineral resources. Mr. Henry, who was addressing a press briefing at his Maxfield Avenue offices on Tuesday (November 14), said the NMP recognises that a modern and vibrant minerals sector must be based on robust and efficient institutions as well as profitable industries. Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, says Cabinet is to receive a submission shortly on the National Minerals Policy (NMP) for the management and development of Jamaica’s mineral resources.He noted that the draft document focuses on the sector’s diversification and continued growth.“It is proactive, flexible and visionary. It brings together the elements that have guided the country’s mineral-related laws, agreements and actions to date,” he added.Mr. Henry, who was addressing a press briefing at his Maxfield Avenue offices on Tuesday (November 14), said the NMP recognises that a modern and vibrant minerals sector must be based on robust and efficient institutions as well as profitable industries.He said the document introduces new policy initiatives and is designed to effectively address the challenges of small island states participating in a competitive global minerals sector.“The NMP places emphasis on partnership between the public and the private sectors; outlines the possible benefits of the structured development of the minerals sector to the Jamaican people; and the mix of policy measures, objectives and strategies to be pursued in order to realise the sector’s continued transformation and optimal development,” Mr. Henry said.He noted that the new policy embraces sustainable development and creates a balance between complex competing interests and the goals of the national development policy, Vision 2030.“This will allow us to take advantage of other mineral resources, particularly through the development of value-added products, the mining and quarrying sector plan and other significant national polices. Importantly, the policy considers environmental issues, which are infused in the strategies to transform the sector,” he noted further.The draft NMP is divided into three segments: Jamaica’s minerals sector, the minerals/mining policy framework, and moving forward.The segment on Jamaica’s minerals sector provides background information, a profile of the local minerals industry and an outline of the context within which the policy is crafted and focused.The minerals/mining policy framework sets out the key policy issues, positions, goals and outcomes. This section also outlines the strategies that will be utilised to achieve the desired outcomes; addresses the proposed legislative changes and the various agencies responsible for implementing different aspects of the NMP.On moving forward, this segment outlines the implementation framework, including the proposed changes to existing entities and the new bodies that need to be created to allow for its successful implementation.The segment also addresses how the successes of the policy will be evaluated and the monitoring framework. “The NMP places emphasis on partnership between the public and the private sectors; outlines the possible benefits of the structured development of the minerals sector to the Jamaican people; and the mix of policy measures, objectives and strategies to be pursued in order to realise the sector’s continued transformation and optimal development,” Mr. Henry said. Story Highlightslast_img read more

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