QAA told to sort out funds

June 6, 1997

The Quality Assurance Agency for higher education must sort out its funding arrangements, vice chancellors have warned.

The Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals wants the agency to channel subscriptions currently raised through the Higher Education Quality Council to be put through the CVCP and other representative bodies instead.

But some agency members would prefer the QAA to raise money directly from institutions, cutting out bureaucracy and avoiding the risk of VAT being applied to payments.

A paper by the CVCP's standards and quality group and considered at its main committee meeting last Friday says the agency must "ensure that it can finance the work which it will be assuming during 1997-98, at or soon after the beginning of the academic year".

It should tackle standards issues raised by the HEQC's graduate standards programme and likely to be prioritised by Sir Ron Dearing's committee of inquiry report next month.

In Scotland, higher education institutions have welcomed the QAA's decision to set up a Scottish advisory committee. The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council has told institutions it cannot join the QAA until it is sure the new agency can meet all its assessment requirements.

QAA's Scottish board members, Dundee University principal Ian Graham-Bryce and Sir Ronald Miller, who chaired the quality assessment review set up by SHEFC and the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, will present proposals to the board later this month on the committee's remit and membership.

QAA chairman Christopher Kenyon said: "We intend this to be a permanent advisory committee."

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