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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.
As a growing number of universities move teaching and assessment online in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Derby is holding a virtual conference which aims to support staff in making the transition.
The Office for Students is leaving it up to universities to decide on particular approaches to the Coronavirus pandemic rather than issuing specific guidance, and has promised to minimises its regulatory demands on the sector in response to the crisis.
The House of Commons education select committee has launched an inquiry into value for money in higher education.
The inquiry will examine the use of graduate outcomes data, social justice and progression of disadvantaged students in higher education, and the quality of teaching across institutions, it said.
The move comes after the annual Higher Education Policy Unit and the Higher Education Academy student experience study this year found that just 35 per cent of studemts believed their HE experience represented "good" or "very good" value for money. The number of students saying their university was "poor" or "very poor" value has almost doubled in five years.
The Committee added that it would also look into the variations in quality of teaching in higher education institutions and the effectiveness of the Teaching Excellence Framework in recognising this.
Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, said:
"Over recent months there has been increasing public attention on the costs to students and to the taxpayer of higher education. The public scrutiny of vice-chancellor pay has raised wider questions about value for money.
"In our inquiry we want to examine to what extent the individual student and the taxpayer receives value for money for this considerable financial investment. Do we benefit from increased productivity from successful graduates? Do students see a greater dividend throughout their careers as a consequence of their degree?
"Social justice and the goal of improving young people’s lives and help them progress on the ladder of opportunity should be fundamental to the mission of our universities. We want to explore how far our universities are delivering a good quality service for their students and the extent to which the high salaries of vice-chancellors are linked to positive student outcomes."
The Committee has invited written submissions to the review by 23 October 2017
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