Quality controls

September 3, 1999

I note that ministers are considering proposals to give the QAA the power to withdraw universities' degree-awarding powers ("Unis fail to ensure degree quality", THES, August ).

Speaking quite unofficially on behalf of the University of Southampton, one of those "named and shamed", I have to observe that "We, Elizabeth, by the Grace of God Queen" might have an opinion on this proposal to abrogate the powers enshrined in the University's Royal Charter of 1952.

More practically, the sixth-formers who clamour to get on to our degree courses in computer science and employers who are equally keen to engage our graduates might be a bit put out to be told that our quality is deficient.

Call me old-fashioned, but if students want to come, and employers want to employ them, then that's quality in my book. And if the QAA doesn't agree, then sod the QAA.

David Barron Professor of computer science University of Southampton

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