News in brief

July 8, 2010

Teaching and learning

Fewer HEA sites in future

The Higher Education Academy has agreed to operate from a smaller number of physical sites in future. Currently, the HEA, which supports teaching and learning in British higher education, has a network of 24 subject centres at universities across the country and headquarters in York. But the organisation has been told to prepare for the loss of a third of its core funding by 2012-13 and is rethinking its structure. At a meeting in London last week, the HEA's board agreed to work through "a smaller number of sites and operating units" and to maintain "a subject and discipline network approach to working with academics". It also agreed to move towards "direct employment or secondment" of core staff, including subject-centre workers. An HEA spokeswoman said the board's discussions were "not about reducing the number of subject centres. What the board agreed unanimously was a set of principles that will inform the development of options for our future structure." She added that it would consider a number of possible structures, with a decision on the best option to be made at the September board meeting.

Remuneration

Hefce chief on public 'rich list'

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is overseen by one of the highest-paid mandarins in the country, according to new government figures. The £230,000-£234,999 salary enjoyed by Sir Alan Langlands, Hefce's chief executive, puts him joint 12th in a list of the highest earners working in government. The list, published last week, includes everyone working for a government department or non-departmental public body who earns more than Prime Minister David Cameron's salary of £150,000 a year. Its publication is an innovation from the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government that aims to increase transparency. Sir Alan is joined on the list by the former chief executive of the Student Loans Company, Ralph Seymour-Jackson, who took home between £165,000 and £169,000 a year before resigning in May after criticism of lengthy delays in the processing of loans.

Private education

Equity firm snaps up Study Group

Higher education company Study Group has been sold to a private equity firm. Providence Equity Partners bought the company, which has more than 55,000 students at 38 campuses in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, for A$660 million (£367 million). Study Group's institutions include Bellerbys College in the UK, the Australian College of Physical Education, the Australian Institute of Applied Science and Martin College, also in Australia. Peter O. Wilde, Providence's managing director, said Study Group was a natural fit with its other education assets, including Archipelago Learning and Edline.

Graduate unemployment

Jobless rate rises

Unemployment among recent graduates is rising, official figures show. In 2008-09, 10 per cent of graduates from UK universities were "assumed to be unemployed" six months after leaving university, up from 8 per cent the previous year, the Higher Education Statistics Agency said. A total of 59 per cent were in employment, 18 per cent were involved in further study and 8 per cent were combining work and study. Unemployment rates for full-time first-degree graduates varied from zero in medicine and dentistry to 14 per cent in mass communications and 17 per cent in computer science.

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