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Interventionism is suddenly all the rage with the Westminster Conservative government, and higher education is feeling the impact as new policies and legislation are brought to bear on the sector, writes Johnny Rich, Chief Executive of Push and of the Engineering Professors’ Council.
Mike Boxall, an independent researcher and consultant on higher education policies and strategies, and a senior adviser to PA Consulting, considers the emerging post-COVID world and its implications for the future of universities. His blog is based on a paper published recently by PA Consulting, and co-authored with its HE lead, Ian Matthias.
The Westminster government should wake up to the full potential of higher education to help it meet its ‘levelling up’ goals, argues Professor Martin Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Staffordshire University.
Universities UK and GuildHE have commissioned the Quality Assurance Agency to develop a new approach to reviewing and enhancing the quality of UK TNE. QAA will consult on a new review method later this year and will launch a programme of in-country enhancement activity in 2021.
The QAA said the move showed that UK universities are ready to endorse a strong, UK-wide approach to the quality enhancement of TNE, helping to foster good learner communities and the sharing of good practice across the sector.
The commission follows an extensive consultation about the future of TNE review in the UK, with the aim of ensuring that students can continue to trust in the quality of their education. A new report from the QAA, Universities UK International, and GuildHE found that universities want "a system where a programme of TNE activities and resources was complemented by an in-country review schedule".
Over 95 per cent of sector respondents to a survey agreed that any system should retain a UK-wide approach, with around 60 supporting a programme of in-country activity to enhance the quality of TNE.
Responses also indicated that there is a "deep commitment" to the future of UK TNE among the UK's universities, and "strong pride" in the way in which UK higher education and UK TNE is respected and valued around the world.
Professor Alistair Fitt, Chair of the joint UUKi/GuildHE/QAA Working Group on the Quality Assurance of TNE and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, said: "I am delighted to see the results of the Consultation on Future Approaches to the External Quality Enhancement of TNE. It is very positive to see widespread support for a UK-wide approach. There is a commitment among universities, sector bodies and overseas partners to work together to enhance the quality of UK higher education which will ultimately benefit transnational students and their local communities."
Dr David Llewellyn, Chair of GuildHE and Vice Chancellor of Harper Adams University, said: "UK higher education has a positive impact on students around the world and makes a substantial contribution to the international reputation of the UK. As we all work through the longer-term implications of the current crisis, it will be important to continue to enhance the quality of the student experience wherever UK higher education is delivered. Following extensive feedback on the consultation GuildHE is pleased, along with Universities UK, to ask QAA to develop a new method to protect and enhance the quality of UK TNE."
Douglas Blackstock, QAA's Chief Executive, commented: "This commission by Universities UK and GuildHE is a powerful demonstration of the lasting commitment to the quality of UK TNE. It is also a strong endorsement of the work of QAA as the UK's independent quality body for higher education. Students, governments and quality agencies around the world can trust that UK TNE delivers a high-quality student experience from trusted institutions, backed up by a respected independent agency."
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