15 Jan 2016
The university think tank million+ has today (15th January) published its response to the government’s Higher Education Green Paper, highlighting concerns in a number of areas and urging the Government to work with the sector to ensure that any changes introduced are in the interest of students, universities and employers.
Professor Dave Phoenix, Chair of million+ and Vice-Chancellor of South Bank University, said:
“A focus on quality, continuous improvement and excellent teaching is at the centre of every university’s ambitions for its students. We welcome the opportunity that the Green Paper has provided to highlight the many strengths and benefits of UK universities which deliver research, teaching and scholarship and operate for the public good.
“Linking fee increases with a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) based on metrics that are proxies for teaching quality, is unlikely to provide students or employers with an accurate picture of the rich and varied teaching and learning environments that universities offer. This risks damaging the reputation of the higher education sector in the UK and is why we recommend that the government defer the introduction of a multi-level TEF in 2018 until further work has been undertaken to determine the best way to promote teaching excellence.
"Universities are autonomous institutions and the new Office for Students (OfS) must retain responsibility for residual teaching grant and quality-related research funding and remain a buffer body between the sector and government.
“While it is clear that Ministers want to open the market to new providers, this should not be achieved by lowering thresholds or disaggregating core components of what universities deliver. UK university title and degree awarding powers are highly valued and have been hard-earned and play an important role in cementing the UK’s global reputation for high quality higher education and research.
“In their response, Ministers should also address the impact of their plans on part-time and mature students about whom the Green Paper is noticeably silent.
“Finally, although the Green Paper is focused on England it has UK-wide implications. Given their potential significance for universities and students, any proposals brought forward by Ministers following the consultation must be scrutinised and debated in full by MPs and Peers.”
Notes to Editors
1. For further information or to arrange an interview with Professor Dave Phoenix please contact Dan Blows at Press@millionplus.ac.uk or call 0207 717 1658 or 07527 336795.
2. million+ is a leading university think tank. More information can be found at www.millionplus.ac.uk
3. The full million+ response to the government’s HE Green Paper can be read here.