THE broad thrust of the "qualifications and standards" recommendations have been welcomed. Diana Warwick, chief executive of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, was relieved that Sir Ron had resisted some lobbyists' demands for a national curriculum for higher education. "That would have been very ill-informed," she said. "He recognises that standards are very much the prerogative of institutions."
She said most recommendations were in line with CVCPideas, but was unsure about the prospect of funding-linked threshold standards. "We've been looking at thresholds, but they need a lot more work."
John Randall, chief executive of the new Quality Assurance Agency, was undaunted by the new responsibilities and tight three-year challenge presented to his agency. "This is the last chance for the sector to have any involvement in its own regulation. The alternative of more external regulation would mean a very different approach to quality assurance," he said.
David Triesman, general secretary of the Association of University Teachers , welcomed "the fundamental importance" attributed to standards, and plans for the QAA to set tough criteria for franchising arrangements.
The Higher Education Funding Council for England defended its Teaching Quality Assessment against Dearing's criticisms, saying it was an expected part of the "evolution".