This is hardly reassuring

October 13, 2011

Anthony McClaran's defence of "educational oversight" ("Oversight is essential", Letters, 6 October) sits uneasily alongside your report "'Visa scam' at college linked to University of Wales" (www.timeshighereducation.co.uk, 5 October), the validation activities of which McClaran's Quality Assurance Agency was supposed to have quality assured.

Earlier this year, the UK Border Agency temporarily suspended the international student sponsor licence issued to Glasgow Caledonian University, also reportedly quality assured by the QAA.

McClaran may recall that in June the QAA concluded that it had "confidence in the current and likely future management of the academic standards" of the University of Wales, and that two months later it published a similar verdict on Glasgow Caledonian. Are we to assume that these instances reflect "the thoroughness of...approach" and the "level of integrity and scrutiny" that will now be brought to bear through "educational oversight"?

Geoffrey Alderman, University of Buckingham

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