Not all pathways are private ones

March 27, 2014

The feature “The rise of the route masters” (20 March) gives a partial picture of what it terms the pre-degree pathways “industry” by assuming that private providers have created and now monopolise a wholly new phenomenon “all but unknown in the UK” until 2005.

In doing so, it ignores the fact that nearly half the sector provide their own pathway courses without private partnerships, and that many have been doing this since long before 2005, thus retaining full control of academic standards and working closely with colleagues across the university on progression routes and academic content. In this way, we put the student experience at the core of our provision, just as we do for our undergraduate and postgraduate students.

We are no more reliant on recruitment agents than many of the private partnerships, and we manage to achieve a diverse student body – Oxford Brookes’ International Foundation Diploma has more than 60 nationalities.

The article is right, however, to point out that this area is short of reliable and accessible data. It would be interesting to know, for example, whether INTO’s claim to be working in 68 countries really results in an equally diverse student population.

Richard Side, director
Edward Bressan, academic director
Oxford Brookes International

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