Universities’ increasing reliance on postgraduate taught fees as a source of income and its potential drawbacks

Zeki Dolen

The introduction of the postgraduate master’s loan for the 2016/17 academic year has led to a dramatic transformation in the landscape of postgraduate taught (PGT) education in the UK.  The number of first‑year PGT students in the UK has increased by 58% between 2015/16 and 2020/21, compared with a 11% increase in the number of undergraduate students over the same period. While undergraduate fees have been capped at £9,250 since 2017, average PGT fees increased by 60%, from £9,465 to £15,150 between 2015/16 and 2021/22. This considerably faster than the increase in the value of the postgraduate loan, which increased only by 18% from £10,000 in 2016/17 to £11,836 in 2021/22.

Source: Hesa, 2022

These trends mean universities have become increasingly reliant on PGT fees as a source of income.  For example, the contribution of PGT fees to King’s College London’s income has increased from 11% in 2016/17 to 19% in 2020/21, and it is no exception. PGT fees as a proportion of total income for higher education institutions (HEIs) in general have steadily grown from 8% in 2016/17 to 12% in 2020/21. 

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Rising Tides Float All Ducks

Gabriel Yunus Pontin

With the warming target of 1.5C slipping from our collective grasp, and the past COP27 viewed by many as our last chance to prevent truly severe climate outcomes, it’s the developing world that stands the most to lose despite often polluting the least per capita. Already those who have been affected by climate change are learning to adapt. In Bangladesh, duck was once a delicacy reserved for winter but now you’ll find it available in abundance all year round simply because ducks can swim.

Duck rearing, which was previously a small household industry, has replaced much of traditional chicken farming due to heightened unpredictability of the rains in the region as a result of global warming. As such, livestock more resilient to becoming too wet, too hot, too cold and importantly have the ability to swim has become key to securing Bangladesh’s food supply. Additionally, rearing ducks alongside rice cultivation increases yields or the crop by around 0.35 tonnes per hectare, as ducks naturally eat various pests that reside in rice paddies –something that chickens do not do.

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The IMF’s Impact on the War in Ukraine

David Neef & Joaquin Magno

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), a prominent international organization responsible for global economic policy, has faced several challenges with the ongoing war in Ukraine. Though not an institution with the authority to condemn or militarily punish states for acts of aggression, the IMF plays a pivotal role in (1) financing aid for the Ukrainian people, (2) laying the groundwork for post-conflict reconstruction, and (3) acting as a deliberative space to discuss major economic shocks wrought by the war in Ukraine.

This article will analyze the IMF’s current actions and the major challenges that the war has posed for maintaining international economic stability. In doing so, we hope to establish the existing relevance of the IMF to the war in Ukraine, and the potential roles it can play in the future.

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What are the major arguments in the abortion debate?

Thomas Fuller

Earlier this year the United States Supreme Court reversed their 1973 decision on Roe v Wade, removing the federal right to abortion. There are a variety of opinion on the subject. However, many of the arguments put forth by pro-choice activist often reside in the practical applications of the prohibition of abortion, arguing that a prohibition of abortion does not stop abortions, but rather makes them less safe. The argument rests in the legality of abortion, rather than the morality of the action itself. So, I thought it prudent to recap some of the formal arguments put forth by ethical thinkers, focusing on the consideration of whether a foetus has an alienable right to life.

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The Dangers of the British Government’s Immigration Rhetoric

Megan Baker

On 31 October 2022, British Home Secretary Suella Braverman told MPs in the House of Commons that ‘the British people deserve to know which party is serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast and which is not. Let’s stop pretending they are all refugees in distress. The whole country knows this is not true.’ Campaigners, including the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and Care4Calais have condemned her comments, calling her language ‘dehumanising’ and ‘indefensible’. According to Politico, around 40,000 migrants have crossed the English Channel this year, which is more than in 2021 and 2020 combined. These migrants have primarily come from Albania, Afghanistan and Iran.

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The Dilemma of Deepfake

Oli Tate

Widespread distrust, confusion and hysteria are just a few of the words used to describe the impact deepfakes could have on society if they are left unchecked and allowed to become more advanced. Deepfake is the use of a type of AI called “deep learning” to produce images of fake events, mostly by imposing someone’s face on another’s body or making someone say something they never did. The implications of this technology undoubtedly hold significant importance for truth, democracy and trust.

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Nuclear Brinkmanship Today: What is at Stake and What to Do?

Alessia Mazuelos

Ever since the Cuban Missile Crisis sixty years ago in 1962, when the United States faced off with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, fears and tensions of nuclear conflict appeared to be long gone. Today, the Russian invasion of Ukraine began the biggest war in Europe since the Second World War, and with Russia’s nuclear capabilities at the tip of President Vladimir Putin’s fingers, the West and the international community are increasingly anxious about the possibility of the war becoming nuclear. After all, up until February 24th 2022, “many people have forgotten that we continue to live in a MAD — mutually assured destruction — world”.

Photo Source: The Telegraph
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Lithuania-Taiwan and the EU’s hesitation in supporting its Member States

Marius Buga

On July 20th, 2021, the Representative of the Taipei Mission in Latvia, Eric Huang, together with Lithuanian MP and Chairman of the Lithuanian Parliamentary Group for Relations with Taiwan, Matas Maldeikis, announced that a new representative office will open in Lithuania. Crucially, the office in Vilnius would be named ‘Taiwanese Representative Office’, a sharp departure from the traditionally used ‘Taipei Mission’. This deepening of ties between Lithuania and Taiwan was met with widespread support in Washington, but Brussels’ reaction has been more timid. Foreign analysts were reasonably concerned that the People’s Republic of China would retaliate, yet Lithuanian officials were cautiously optimistic. According to an analysis by the Bank of Lithuania, as Lithuania has not developed significant economic ties with China, cutting off trade with China would not be particularly harmful and only reduce GDP by 0.3% over three years. Hence, the government of Lithuania has continued to deepen its ties with Taiwan, despite warnings from Beijing.

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The EU should take away the knife from Russia: salami tactics and Nord Stream 2

Claudia Iris Comandini

Imagine February 2023 Ukraine is surrounded by four battalions of troops. Gusts of wind are blowing so fiercely that even the heavy tactical gears worn by Russian soldiers seem like rice paper umbrellas. One could count 175.000 heads deployed on ground and sea, if there was any other than a civilian out there to actually give testimony. The war had been announced and more than ever Ukraine was on the verge of witnessing how the European Union had not kept its promises of being a beacon of democracy. 

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China in Africa: A Force for Good?

Joshua Mathew

Introduction

The rather low-profile Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, concluded recently, saw a reaffirmation of China’s commitment to the region. Africa provides a smorgasbord of economic benefits to China: it is a source of raw materials and agricultural produce, and is an external market for Chinese construction firms. With the demographics of Africa consisting of mostly young consumers, there are lucrative opportunities for Chinese private capital to conduct business in the region. In addition, in terms of political value, Africa is a key partner – as a crucial voting bloc in the United Nations, there is a strategic dimension to the relationship.

One aspect that deserves further attention is the development of telecommunications platforms in Africa. The main focus will be on the Chinese involvement in this area as well as its potential security implications. Some mitigating strategies to deal with the risks will also be provided. 

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