Another higher education review

The government has finally announced the terms of reference and review panel for its review of university teaching funding. It was first promised in the May 2009 Budget.

The terms of reference acknowledge that the proposed new regulation of institutional and course standards changes things fundamentally. It would be irrational for one arm of government to set standards and another deny universities the finance needed to meet those standards (though as I have long had to tell bewildered newcomers to higher education policy, the fact that something is absurd has never been regarded as a valid argument against it).

The terms of reference are silent on one of the biggest issues in costs, whether the per student funding rate includes funding for research time. If it costs teaching alone – say 8 months a year including preparation time – the current funding rates probably are more or less adequate for a standardised education product. If research is not included, it will lead to a massive shake-up of the whole sector. Continue reading “Another higher education review”