The government today (6 November 2015) outlined ambitious proposals to put students at the heart of higher education. The reforms are designed to boost teaching standards, support more people into university from disadvantaged backgrounds, and ensure better value for money and employment prospects for students.
A green paper published today – Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice – will consult on proposals to:
- drive up teaching standards and give students more information through a new Teaching Excellence Framework that will encourage a greater focus on high quality teaching and graduate employment prospects
- widen participation for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and encourage providers to increase focus on supporting all students through their course and into employment or further study. A new Social Mobility Advisory Group would report to the Universities Minister with a plan to meet the Prime Minister’s ambitions to increase the proportion of disadvantaged students entering higher education and increase the number of BME students by 20% by 2020
- enable students to choose from a wider range of high-quality higher education providers by making it less bureaucratic to establish a new university through faster access to Degree Awarding Powers and University Title
- establish a new Office for Students to promote the student interest and value for money, and reduce the regulatory burden on the sector
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:
We must do more to ensure that the time and money students invest in higher education is well spent.
Our ambition is to drive up the quality of teaching in our universities to ensure students and taxpayers get value for money and employers get graduates with the skills they need.
The new Office for Students would have a clear remit to champion value for money and the student interest in its decision-making. And by opening up the sector to new universities and colleges, students will have more choice than ever when they come to apply to university.
A consultation on the proposals in the green paper opens today and will run for 10 weeks, closing on 15 January 2016.