Keen oversight

January 12, 2012

I was reading your article on the University of Wales and its validation activities ("Boom and bust", 5 January) when my eye was drawn to a reference to the British Accreditation Council. I'd like to emphasise that the BAC can assist validating universities when they set up partnerships with private colleges.

With regard to the University of Wales, the BAC was hoping to formalise arrangements as a precursor to an active process of inspection of the institution's new partners: as outlined by the Quality Assurance Agency, the strengthened vetting procedures would be applied henceforth to all potential partners. However, the university's decision to rein in its validation services has meant that there are a number of colleges with its validation agreements that are not BAC-accredited.

Given the status of the University of Wales and its validation, I do not believe that the policy was fully implemented; however, the BAC remains willing to assist validating universities to ensure that full due diligence and oversight are in place with regard to potential or existing partners in the UK and overseas.

Validating activities in partnership with the private sector continue to offer opportunities for universities to reach out to students who would not normally be able to access them; but as your leader suggests ("Perils of the export business", 5 January), there is a need for "strong and focused oversight". The BAC continues to assist universities with that objective.

Gina Hobson, Chief executive, British Accreditation Council

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