Archives for August 29th, 2001

CHALLENGING KNOWLEDGE – THE UNIVERSITY IN THE KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY

Book News, PublicNet: 29 August, 2001

Gerard DelantyDrawing from current debates in social theory about the changing nature of knowledge, this book offers the most comprehensive sociological theory of the university that has yet appeared. The famous philosophical conceptions of the university from the Enlightenment to postmodern thought are discussed along with the major writings in modern social theory on the university, such as those of Weber, Parsons Habermas, Gadmer, Lyotard and Bourdieu. Delanty views the university as a key institution of modernity and as the site where knowledge, culture and society interconnect. Arguing against the notion of the demise of the university, his argument is that in the knowledge society of today a new identity for the university is emerging based on communication and new conceptions of citizenship.

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WARNING – EXAMS CAN DAMAGE MENTAL HEALTH

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 August, 2001

Schools that focus too heavily on getting children through exams risk damaging their emotional health and skewing broader educational objectives in the process. This warning about ‘exam mania’ and its potential to damage children’s mental health comes in a paper published by the Institute for Public Policy Research.The paper, Learning to Trust and Trusting to Learn , points to the apparent rise in eating disorders, burn out, male disaffection and behaviour problems, even in the more academic schools, as signs that there is a growing ‘mental health deficit’ among children. The latest official study acknowledges that one in ten children aged 5-15 will experience a clinically defined mental health problem. Successful students may become success junkies, lose sight of themselves and only feel accepted with straight As, while others who don’t make the grade, or any grade, feel a failure. A secondary teacher is quoted in the paper as saying: ‘We are not educating them. We are not even teaching them. We are drilling them.’

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STRIKE ACTION IN DEFRA GOES AHEAD

Headlines, PublicNet: 29 August, 2001

The Public and Commercial Services Union, with 3,000 members in the new Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs has confirmed that it will take selective strike action this week. Staff in a number of other offices will also work to rule. The new department was formed in June following, the election, by the merger of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and elements of the Department for Environment Transport and Regions. The union claims that former MAFF members in DEFRA can earn up to £4,000 a year less than their colleagues from the former DETR.The union’s hand has been strengthened by the high level of support for the one day strike held earlier this month and by more staff signing up for union membership.

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