Home News The universities "do not offer value for money", says the member of...

The universities "do not offer value for money", says the member of parliament

Universities need to focus on value for money and improving access for disadvantaged students, MEPs said.

A report released by the Education Committee states that the focus must be on graduates' employment outcomes, skills development and support for poorer students.

The committee calls on universities and the government to achieve better results, to expand apprenticeship training, and to address the problem of excessive vice-chancellor salaries.

Robert Halfon, chairman of the committee, said: "We know that our universities are among the best in the world and world leaders in teaching and research. In order to uphold standards and provide students, it is important to answer the question of whether our higher education system is suitable for the 21st century.

"The blunt reality is that too many universities do not offer good value for money and that students do not get good results with the degrees that so many of them owe.

"Too many institutions either meet our qualification requirements or offer the disadvantaged the opportunity to scale the career ladder."

The report, published Monday, suggests that the "unjustified" inflated salaries of Vice Chancellors have become the norm and not the exception.

It also states that they are not good value for students or taxpayers, and calls on the Office of Students (OfS) to take a more rigorous approach to executive compensation and not be afraid of interventions.

The EESC calls on the branches to publish criteria for acceptable wage levels that could be related to the average salary, benefits and other measures of the staff.

The report said that they were "deeply concerned" about the decline in part-time work and mature learners.

They say that universities should offer more flexible learning, including transfer of credits, internships and a departure from the traditional three-year approach.

Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has shown that raising student tuition fees in 2012 and the introduction of maintenance credits have resulted in students from the poorest backgrounds receiving debt over a three-year closing of £ 57,000.

According to the report, the government should reintroduce the funds-tested system of loans and maintenance grants.

MEPs also call for institutions to become more transparent when it comes to graduate earnings and career opportunities.

The report also notes the potentially detrimental effects of unconditional offers on students' interests and demands that OfS curb them.

This year, 67,915 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received an unrestricted offer (2013: 2,985).

In terms of skills and apprenticeship, the Committee said that all institutions should offer teacher training programs that are crucial to boosting the country's economy.

Mr. Halfon added, "Our higher education system needs to focus much more on skills development.

"This could make an important contribution to closing the nation's skill gaps and solving the puzzle of productivity in the UK.

"The Russell Group universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, should rise to this challenge and improve their apprenticeship training."

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of OfS said: "We are already responding specifically to a number of areas highlighted in the report.

"We are preparing a new approach to significantly reduce access gaps, achievements and progress for disadvantaged students. The "Teaching Excellence" and "Student Outcomes" Frameworks promote excellent teaching and improve information for students, including student employment results.

"We strongly support the growth of training occupations. We demonstrate this through the £ 8 million Apprentice Training Fund and will use its evaluation to determine what further steps need to be taken in 2019. "

She added, "We demand that universities and other registered providers publish details of the Vice Chancellor salaries and justify their salary package.

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"We also demand that they publish the number of employees over £ 100,000 paid. The quotas show how the vice-chancellor salaries are compared to those of all the other employees. This goes beyond the previous requirements. "

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said, "Our reforms have set record rates for disadvantaged 18-year-olds who have been at world-class universities, and we want this to continue. That's why we're pleased that universities and colleges are planning to spend more than £ 860 million on measures to improve access and outcomes for disadvantaged students.

"We know that what you study and where you study is really important, and we introduce and develop digital tools that provide data on degrees that determine the way students choose the right university for them, revolutionize. We are also reviewing training and funding after 18 years to see how we can ensure better value for money for students and taxpayers.

"We want to offer students more choice than ever before. So it is good news that more than 100 universities are now on board offering apprenticeships, including numerous Russell Group universities.

"This allows students to earn a degree through an apprenticeship while earning a salary and training in the workplace, which means they can bring their valuable skills to the workforce sooner than a traditional degree."

Press Association



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