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The TESS Archive - 21 February 2003

The month the war in Darfur started, and an American businessman was admitted to hospital in Vietnam - and later died - with the first identified case of SARS

The month the war in Darfur started, and an American businessman was admitted to hospital in Vietnam - and later died - with the first identified case of SARS

Computer learning stalls over key test

- A multimillion-pound business in computer-based learning which has spread to half of Scotland's secondaries and more than 200 primaries is no more than "promising with limitations". Analysis of integrated learning systems such as Success-Maker and RM Maths, which have cost some secondaries up to #163;30,000, comes as a prominent British researcher surprised a Glasgow conference by advising heads to invest in classroom interaction, not computer learning, if they want to raise exam results.

Is there a doctor in the school?

- A project to encourage young Scots from deprived backgrounds to aim for a university course in medicine or veterinary science is to be launched this summer. Fourteen-year-olds from schools which have traditionally sent few pupils to university will be set psychometric personality tests to see if they have the aptitude and intelligence, under the Widening Access to Medicine Scheme.

The city of aspirations

- Glasgow education director Ronnie O'Connor shows no signs of dimmed enthusiasm after six months in the job. He says candidly: "The education system is not as inclusive as it thinks it is. There are still too many professional barriers preventing agencies working together, particularly in delivering for the most vulnerable. Surely, in the age of technology, we can have the one-file child."

PE remains an activity too far

- Everybody wants it. At least two hours of PE a week for all school-age pupils, they chorus. But those who took the time to respond to last June's report by the Physical Activity Task Force, led by John Beattie, the Glasgow-based sports commentator, are uncertain how this laudable aim should be turned into reality.

Bac goes to work

- An international vocational baccalaureate is being trialled in Oulu, northern Finland, with the aim of introducing it worldwide by 2005. The programme, initiated by the IB, will take three years to complete. Erkki Kangas, principal of Oulu Business College, which will run the course, said it would be an alternative to university. He added: "An international qualification like this will boost the image of vocational education as a whole."

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