Stop digging

April 21, 2016

It seems that the Higher Education Funding Council for England is now making higher education policy by blog. On 13 April, a policy adviser to the funding council put out her thoughts on Hefce’s bid to include “work” on degree standards “as part of the development” of the “revised operating model for quality assessment”. The next day its director of regulation and assurance, sensitive to “comment”, blogged an attempt “to clarify the basis on which Hefce has initiated this activity”. As an attempt at damage limitation, it is pretty breathtaking.

Susan Lapworth admits that it is true that the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 that created Hefce makes no mention of any responsibility for standards. But, she blogs, “the world has moved on since 1992, and we have updated our understanding of the statutory basis for our responsibilities accordingly”, and anyway “it’s not particularly helpful to trade legal interpretations”.

It makes you wonder who – if anyone – at Hefce allowed this hostage-to-fortune “policy statement” to go out in its name. For a director’s blog must now in reality commit the funding council as surely as a circular letter.

When you are in a hole, stop digging. There are plenty of people in the world of higher education ready with their spades to fill that hole in and bury Hefce’s recent “updatings” once and for all.

G. R. Evans
Oxford


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com
Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Retired academics calculating moves while playing bowls

Lincoln Allison, Eric Thomas and Richard Larschan reflect on the ‘next phase’ of the scholarly life