The power of cultural appeal 2

January 29, 2009

Your recent article about student experience fails to acknowledge one of the largest student groups in UK higher education, namely part-time students ("Happy to be here", 15 January).

With more than 900,000 part-time students enrolled in higher education in the UK, accounting for more than 38 per cent of total enrolments (200,354 at The Open University alone), the experience and satisfaction of part-time students should be central to the business needs and pedagogic work of the higher education sector.

According to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, the number of full-time first-year enrolments decreased by 1 per cent between 2005-06 and 2006-07 whereas part-time first-year enrolments increased by 2 per cent over the same period. The part-time higher education sector is active, engaged and growing.

Omitting part-time students from the Times Higher Education student experience league table because they do not traditionally enrol through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service undermines the efforts of almost 40 per cent of the higher education student body. I trust that your next survey will be a better reflection of the reality of the sector as a whole and its students.

Brenda Gourley

Vice-chancellor, The Open University.

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