Scops' response to QAA
While SCOP welcomes clarification of criteria for titles by the QAA, it does not support the approach that "seeks to rationalise the HE sector and differentiate between universities and university colleges".
It approached the proposals with four priorities in mind: diversity, clarity, quality and consistency.
Maintaining diversity, it says, is essential for the sector to "respond dynamically and effectively to change".
SCOP admits it is in everyone's interests to have greater clarity on title use and degree-awarding powers, so that students can make an informed choice of institution.
There is concern that standards be maintained. SCOP members accept external quality assurance and processes relating to degree-awarding powers and university title approval. But any criteria agreed must be applied to the whole sector if they are to be credible, it says.
It adds that the proposal to identify university colleges by the restrictions placed on them "blurs the focus on standards and quality".
The clarity offered by the criteria will be "diluted and confused" if any unfounded notion of institutional type is imposed", it says.
The QAA's proposal for legislation to allow it to remove degree-awarding powers would lead to an increase in the powers of the DFEE in relation to institutions and would distort the QAA's relationship with the HE sector, SCOP's response says.
Legislation to remove degree-awarding powers "emphasises a punitive and draconian approach that would not be in the best interests of students", it says.