Browne and the CSR: it is time for Plan B (part 2)

October 28, 2010

Lord Browne and his colleagues were asked to inquire into higher education funding and student finance. Their remit did not extend to the many other matters on which they have seen fit to pronounce and that are clearly designed to give central government wide-ranging control over the manner in which the privately funded higher education sector manages itself.

A case in point is the recommendation that institutions in receipt of income from the proposed Student Finance Plan be obliged to require "all new academics with teaching responsibilities to undertake a teacher-training qualification accredited by the Higher Education Academy".

Quite apart from being a gross intrusion into the academic autonomy of such institutions, and quite apart from being wholly outside Browne's terms of reference, there is no evidence that university teachers with such a qualification are any better at enthusing and challenging their students than those without.

It is a pity that Lord Browne and his colleagues permitted themselves to be seduced by this gimmick.

Geoffrey Alderman, University of Buckingham.

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