New accreditation body ‘will not pit HE and FE against each other’

Council for accrediting technical courses would cut skills shortages, says head of AoC

November 13, 2015

Proposals for the formation of a new accreditation body for higher level technical qualifications would complement existing relationships between universities and further education colleges rather than pitting them against each other, the president of a national FE group has argued.

In its Breaking the Mould paper, the Association of Colleges (AoC) calls for the creation of a Technical Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), which would have the power to accredit courses and training programmes.

The council, which would be made up of representatives from a number of organisations from across the education and skills sector, would promote technical education to ensure the continued supply of technical and professional skills “crucial to the long-term prosperity of the nation”, the report says.

It adds that the TEAC would set standards for work-related education and training to ensure that quality is maintained, and would also sustain institutional autonomy, drawing on the “autonomous institutions and robust awarding powers” of the UK higher education system.

Earlier this year, a government consultation on the subject raised fears among some universities that a new body would place them in direct competition with further education colleges. But John Widdowson, president of the AoC, told Times Higher Education that this would not be the case.

“In the majority of cases, colleges will continue to work in partnership with universities and other higher education providers, offering degrees and other awards,” he said. “It is also important that colleges and universities continue to work together to ensure that a new qualifications landscape allows students to transfer between different routes. Above all, the two approaches should be seen as complementary rather than in competition.”

The report says that presently there is no “coherent validation and award system” for technical and professional education, which results in “constant policy tinkering”. It also cites evidence that universities are often “disinterested in short-cycle provision” – higher education courses lasting less than three years – and that the TEAC would address this.

“A flexible approach to the design, validation and awarding of higher level technical and professional qualifications will broaden the choice of good-quality courses available to colleges, employers and students,” Mr Widdowson said.

“In particular, it will allow recognition for tightly focused and job-specific higher level skills to meet the needs of a fast-moving workplace.”

john.elmes@tesglobal.com

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

Reader's comments (1)

Now that some consistency has been brought by DfE/Ofqual approval of Tech levels 2-3 qualifications, mostly provided by the schools and FE colleges, perhaps the suggested TEAC could fulfill the role of accrediting of all providers that want to run and specifically award the qualifications offered by Ofqual regulated Awarding organisations(AOs). Maybe even extended to validating on behalf of Ofqual all technical, vocational and professional qualifications across the levels 2-8 range.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

United Nations peace keeper

Understanding the unwritten rules of graduate study is vital if you want to get the most from your PhD supervision, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration (5 January 2017)

Fixing problems in the academic job market by reducing the number of PhDs would homogenise the sector, argues Tom Cutterham

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, government

There really is no need for the Higher Education and Research Bill, says Anne Sheppard

poi, circus

Kate Riegle van West had to battle to bring her circus life and her academic life together

man with frozen beard, Lake Louise, Canada

Australia also makes gains in list of most attractive English-speaking nations as US slips