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With calls for a post-qualification admissions system, greater transparency around unconditional university offers, and the need for a more ambitious contextual admissions strategy – is the current admissions process fit for purpose or is it ready for a refresh? June Hughes, University of Derby Secretary and Registrar, discusses the complexity of the university system.
As the latest Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) results are published, Sue Reece, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) at Staffordshire University, says the efforts her institution made to move up from a Silver to a Gold award were worth it, despite flaws in the TEF methodology.
Universities awarded funding as part of a large-scale programme to tackle hate crime and sexual harassment on campus have made good progress, an evaluation of the scheme has concluded.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has urged the Office for Students to adopt “ambitious” new measures “in order to tackle risks to the world class quality of higher education” in the UK.
The UK is losing its share of the global student market to increasingly competitive universities in the United States and Canada, despite enjoying the highest satisfaction levels in the world among its international students.
Two new reports from the UK HE international unit looking at the UK’s global competitive advantage in postgraduate taught and research programmes show that high satisfaction rates among overseas students make Britain the most recommended English-speaking study destination in the world.
But with funding constraints at home forcing universities in the US and Canada to recruit more aggressively abroad, the UK is losing its share of the market. Despite an increase in international postgraduate taught numbers between 2007-14, the UK’s growth of 27.8 per cent amounted to a 1.4 per cent fall in market share. Meanwhile, The US increased market share by 2.3 per cent and Canada by 31.3 per cent.
As well as facing a more competitive market, UK universities have been hampered and started to lose on satisfaction ratings since 2008 thanks to the ending of post-study work entitlements, tougher visa rules, and falling financial support. The reports say postgraduate international students in the UK are highly satisfied with teaching and learning support, but increasingly dissatisfied with the financial support and opportunities to earn.
“At the level of international comparisons, it is clear that the UK delivers a world-class experience for taught postgraduate students. 86 per cent of students would recommend the UK, the highest rate of comparator countries, and up by 4 per cent since 2007/8. However, the UK cannot be complacent, because satisfaction with both the USA and Canada is also high and improving fast,” the report on postgraduate taught provision warns.
The reports call for a national coordinated campaign to position the quality of the experience and the value of a UK research degree at the heart of messages to attract more of the most talented research students.
Get the full picture on this and other key HE reports: HEi-know Briefing Report 286
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