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Sector News, 06 - 10 October 2008

Number crunch.  Education Guardian, 07 October 2008.

Fears are being expressed that universities who enrol a large number of part time students will suffer a downturn.  The ‘credit crunch’ is being blamed for the lateness of part time student enrolment.  Whilst part time enrolment is usually last minute this year the situation has worsened.   Universities are also worried that the trend to cut training in times of recession will also affect student numbers.

Rise in joint degrees that leap international borders but still hurdles to face.  THE, 09 October 2008.

There has been an explosion in popularity of degree programmes offered by universities across international borders. However, there are doubts as to the legitimacy and recognition of accreditation.

MPs question credibility of 14-19 diplomas. THE, 09 October 2008.

A committee of MPs has questioned the credibility of 14-19 diplomas.  MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee warned that:

  • acceptance of Diplomas by higher education is still some way off,
  • parents, employers and universities still needed some convincing that the diplomas are a credible alternative to existing qualifications,
  • diplomas could further complicate and already complicated system of qualifications.

City v-c: students, not businesses, are privatising our universities. THE, 09 October 2008.

Industry contributions to university income are a distant third to student or government derived income.   Professor Gillies, vice-chancellor of City University, cited a recent statement by the CBI that students should get a £1,000 bursary to increase take up science, engineering and technology degrees, commenting that the figure needed to be nearer £5,000 to have the desired impact.

Aim higher, earlier.  THE, 09 October 2008.

“School, colleges and universities must work together on widening participation initiatives”, so says Stuart Billingham pro vice-chancellor of York St John University.  Stuart argues that successful widening participation initiatives are those where universities and colleges have produced links with schools, including primary.

World university rankings 2008.  THE, 09 October 2008.

This week the THE has published the list of the world’s top 200 universities.  See also, World beaters, but what makes these universities special?

Drop-out fears grow.  TES, FE Focus, 10 October 2008.

“Principals fear teenagers from low-income families will drop out as up to 250,000 still await their £30 a week maintenance grant”.   Although the government has said that colleges awarding the grant themselves will get their money back, principals point out that grant awarding and means testing go together and they have neither the staff to undertake such a task nor the money to risk on students who may fail means testing at a later stage.

Women defend ‘leisure courses’. TES, FE Focus, 10 October 2008.

The WI is joining around 60 other organisations in the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning (CALL).  Leisure courses are vital and often equip people with practical skills for employment, say the WI.  In addition, they state that for people in middle and later life leisure courses are important in keeping minds active and providing a healthy outlook on life.

Colleges ahead of private providers in Esol teaching.  TES, FE Focus, 10 October 2008.

Standards of Esol teaching in colleges are better than those provided by private trainers or in local authority classes say inspectors. Colleges have half of their Esol teaching earning one of the top two ratings, with only one college rated less than satisfactory (since 2005).