NPC wants more access but opposes top-up fees

March 7, 1997

THE NATIONAL Postgraduate Committee's submission to the Dearing Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education focuses on seven main points.

* The NPC supports broadening of access, subject to quality of education being maintained. Higher education should maximise people's ability to contribute to their own development and to that of society in general.

* Higher education should provide individuals with analytical skills to solve problems and reason creatively. A PhD should provide a broad research training in addition to a specialised research project.

And a masters degree should indicate a more advanced level of knowledge or competence compared with an undergraduate degree.

* Postgraduate associations and representative structures should be encouraged, as students on one-year taught courses will not remain at the institution to see the implementation of any feedback they may have made.

* The NPC supports the proposal for a typology of postgraduate courses suggested in the Harris Report, which covered many structural issues in postgraduate education.

* The NPC supports the maintenance of educational and research diversity. While the assessment of national needs is useful, there is always the potential to get this wrong.

Many people undertake postgraduate education for personal fulfilment and the system should allow them to do so.

* The NPC opposes the introduction of top-up fees.

* Postgraduates should have access to the present student loans scheme or any future loans scheme.

The current system of financial support is limited in scope and inconsistent. There should be allowances for dependants, and mature students should be supported to encourage the widening of access.

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