Quality qualms (1)

August 6, 2004

Jo Clough is right to be sceptical about the Government's proposal for a voluntary register of education providers ("Protect college title, heads say", July 30).

But restricting the use of the college title is not the solution. Genuine private colleges play an important role in preparing overseas students for UK universities. Yet Government policy towards the independent sector resembles a game of snakes and ladders - on the one hand, the prospect of a university title for private colleges that meet the required standard; on the other, changes to visa regulations that can create problems for genuine providers and rogue colleges alike.

The British Accreditation Council has been pushing the Government to support a robust accreditation scheme for all colleges - not just English-language schools. The proposed register may be a step in the right direction but it must be backed by a coherent policy to support the independent sector, or it will undermine the best providers while doing little to stamp out the rogues.

Caroline Bucklow
Chief executive
British Accreditation Council

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