Oversight is essential (2 of 2)

October 6, 2011

"Bleak vision for student imports due to lack of 'oversight'" provided a much-needed focus on the damage caused to UK further and higher education by recent changes to the student-immigration route. But still to be addressed is the UK's lack of a comprehensive quality-assurance system for private further and higher education. Although private colleges that wish to recruit international students must achieve "educational oversight", the process is split between several bodies, and the impetus for the system originates from the Home Office.

Furthermore, a college that decides not to recruit internationally has no requirement to submit to a quality assurance-focused review at all. Where is the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in all this?

David Willetts, the universities and science minister, has talked repeatedly about "opening the market to new entrants", yet BIS has failed to take responsibility for providing a comprehensive system to assure quality and has allowed the Home Office to wreak havoc on high-quality, reputable education providers. This lack of joined-up thinking may mean that there are no "new entrants" to help boost the academy, and a diverse and innovative sector may be stifled at a time of potential growth.

Gina Hobson, Chief executive, British Accreditation Council

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