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The government's announcement of a major review of the National Student Survey signals a worrying shift in the HE regulatory landscape, warns Jon Scott, higher education consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester.
Statements from ministers this week have made it clear that higher education in England is facing significant reforms, re-setting its focus towards helping to plug the UK's skills gaps and rebuilding the economy. Fariba Soetan, Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at the National Centre for Universities and Business, argues that the proposed changes bring a welcome focus on graduate outcomes and supporting the careers of young people.
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.
After a week of largely disappointing news for UK higher education, Nicola Owen, Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) at Lancaster University, fears that gloomy forecasts for the future of the sector may prove to be uncomfortably accurate.
A number of universities are presenting unverifiable marketing claims making it difficult for prospective students to make informed choices, according to a new Which? University investigation.
Almost a year after the advertising watchdog upheld a number of complaints about misleading information in higher education, the consumer champion found several universities are making unverifiable and potentially misleading claims.
Which? University carried out a review of comparative claims made by UK institutions and found that at least six universities included examples of unsubstantiated or unverifiable claims about their standing on their websites, in likely breach of advertising standards.
The review found a number of unjustified claims, which were not clearly verifiable including:
Which? University said it was particularly concerned about these comparative claims, given it is less than one year since the Advertising Standards Authority issued its comprehensive advice in November 2017 to universities about such claims and its rulings which upheld complaints about comparative claims made in university advertising. Where universities are making comparative claims about their relative performance, these should be verifiable and provided with sufficient qualifying information to ensure that prospective students are not misled.
Alex Hayman, Managing Director of Which? University, said:
"It is critical that prospective students can trust the facts that higher education institutions are putting forward. However, we've found numerous examples of universities falling short. We want universities to act responsibly in line with the ASA's guidelines as thousands across the country prepare to apply for the next step of their education in the coming weeks and months."
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