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UK universities face deficits next year - but are likely to bounce back, predicts Moody's

The coronavirus outbreak will lead to temporary budget deterioration and operating deficits for some UK universities next year, but the sector's finances are likely to bounce back in two to three years, according to a new report from the ratings agency Moody's.

Uncertainty over re-opening plans for HE leaves universities and students in limbo

Another week of pandemic-dominated HE news has highlighted the dilemmas facing universities and students over what to expect in the coming academic year says, Mike Ratcliffe, academic registrar at Nottingham Trent University.

How to make online learning a dynamic experience rather than like a ‘Netflix binge’

As HEi-know publishes a Good Practice Briefing on the transition to online delivery of HE, James Clay, head of higher education and student experience at Jisc, who provides an overview in the Briefing, offers some tips on overcoming the challenges of making the shift to online teaching.

Hinds urges OfS to take “ambitious” measures to protect HE standards

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.

In supplementary guidance to priorities for the 2019-20 financial year he originally set out in February, Hinds calls on the OfS to make additional efforts to address concerns over degree grade inflation, essay mills, unconditional offers, degree apprenticeships, and university admissions more broadly.

The OfS should be prepared to “directly challenge” institutions where it finds clear evidence of grade inflation, using “the full range of its powers to address any disregard of sector-recognised standards”, he says in the guidance letter, adding that the OfS should make the target for new key performance indicators in this area “ambitious”.

The OfS should also take a “visible lead” in challenging the sector to eliminate the use of essay mills, working with the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment (UKSCQA) to ensure institutions have the support they need to take “firm and robust action”.

The education secretary refers again to a “disturbing” rise in the number of unconditional offers being made, and says he expects the OfS to keep him informed of progress on work to address this. The growth in unconditional offers “may be symptomatic of wider issues within university admissions processes”, he adds, welcoming the OfS’s stated intention to conduct a review of admissions.

On degree apprenticeships, Hinds encourages the OfS to work closely with Ofsted to produce quality assessment reviews of apprenticeships delivered by non-registered providers, to identify any that are not meeting expected standards.

 

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