No rope to tie hands

April 25, 2003

In the story about the restructuring of Open University courses, you quote an OU spokeswoman saying: "We have been required by the Quality Assurance Agency to bring our standards up to everyone else. Our hands are tied" ("Students angry at forced OU upgrade", THES, April 11).

But they are not tied. The QAA cannot "require" any university to do any-thing.

The QAA has no more power to "require" the OU to rejig its bachelor degrees that have been awarded without honours than it has to require the universities of Oxford and Cambridge to abandon their practice of awarding MAs on the basis of a post-bachelor's non-certificated learning.

Not, that is, unless legislation has been passed while my back has been turned.

Geoffrey Alderman
London NW9

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