QAA role 'essential'overseas

February 15, 2002

Education secretary Estelle Morris has said that it is "essential" that quality watchdogs monitor the standard of degree courses delivered overseas.

Ms Morris's warning came two weeks after The THES reported that the Quality Assurance Agency may be forced to scrap its overseas audit work due to "heavy demands" on staffing resources.

Answering a parliamentary question last week, Ms Morris said she would be worried that British universities might lower standards overseas if it were not for the QAA.

Labour MP Kevin Brennan asked: "Does my right honourable friend share my concern that there may be a temptation for some universities, in an understandable desire to improve their financial position, to skimp a little on standards for overseas degrees?"

Ms Morris said she did not share Mr Brennan's concern because she was confident in the role of the QAA.

She said: "It is essential that standards are monitored, and where there is a franchise arrangement we will always ensure that standards are maintained."

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