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Sandra Booth, Director of Policy and External Relations for the Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD), reviews a week of higher education news in which concerns emerged over universities’ financial stability due to Covid-19 and the impact of the crisis on students.
A growing number of higher education conferences and events are being postponed or moved online in response to the Coronavirus restrictions.
Amid predictions that higher education will be changed forever by the current pandemic, Professor James Miller, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Glasgow Caledonian University, suggests the innovative ways the sector is responding to the crisis will make it even more valued in the future.
The current crisis has underlined the critical role played by the UK’s experts and researchers and the institutions supporting them, as well as the need for collaboration between them, says Dr Joe Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business.
The Higher Education Statistics Agency has published the specification of student data to be returned by higher education providers from the 2019/20 academic year. The release represents the biggest change to the way student data is collected since the Cheltenham agency’s first data collection in 1994.
The Data Futures programme, launched with a wide-ranging consultation in 2015, is intended to update the way that HE providers and data collectors work with data. The new specification includes the key concepts and glossary of terms that will re-define how the higher education sector talks about student data.
The specification also sets out the details of what, when, and how data will have to be submitted to HESA, giving submitters and users of HESA data a chance to assess the impact of the changes. It combines three previous HESA data returns into one, and will support in-year data collection rather than collecting all data at the end of the academic year.
Fourteen universities, colleges and alternative providers have volunteered to take part in an Alpha pilot test of the HESA Data Platform, starting in April 2018. To ease the impact of changes on HE providers HESA are planning a phased transition to the new system with more details to be announced on 2 November.
Rob Phillpotts, Programme Director of Data Futures said: “The Data Futures programme marks a major change in the way providers and collectors work with data. I’m delighted to announce the launch of version 1.0.0 of the HESA Student Record coding manual for 2019/20 academic year.
“We appreciate the magnitude of the task ahead and all the hard work to date in shaping and challenging the design of the new data specification. We have been consulting across the sector to develop our blue-print for in-year data collection and we’re grateful for the significant engagement of HE providers and data users.
“I look forward to working further with HE providers on the next steps of the Data Futures programme as we continue to develop the HESA Data Platform.”
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