Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Low-Quality Teaching Detrimental to 'Brand UK'

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Low-Quality Teaching Detrimental to 'Brand UK'

Article excerpt

Failure to protect teaching quality at low-cost higher education providers could threaten the health of the entire university sector, the former president of Universities UK has warned.

Speaking at the European University Association's annual conference, held this year at the University of Warwick, Sir Steve Smith, vice-chancellor of the University of Exeter, said that if a large gap in quality opened up between institutions charging Pounds 9,000 and those offering less expensive courses, it could threaten the UK academy's "brand". He told the meeting of European university leaders on 23 March: "How do you guarantee quality for the lower end of the market when it costs Pounds 9,000 to go to Oxford but only Pounds 4,500 for a further education college?

"As soon as we damage the quality at the lower end, we damage the whole brand."

However, Professor Smith believed that the government's higher education reforms would force universities to attach greater importance to teaching: "Some academics speak sometimes as if it would be better if there were no students. …

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