'Restrictive regime' opposed

May 21, 1999

THE HE VIEW

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals was unusually direct in its criticism of the Quality Assurance Agency when it responded to the QAA's plans for degree-awarding powers and institutional titles last month.

There was "insufficient information" in the proposals on procedures that would be used to evaluate an institution's bid to award its own degrees or change its name, and "simple reliance on a QAA dictum would be unacceptable", it told government officials.

Tony Bruce, CVCP policy chief, said vice-chancellors were opposed to the introduction of a regime that restricted diversity in the higher education college sector, because a variety of approaches by SCOP institutions added to the diversity of higher education overall.

"We do not think it is appropriate to freeze the status of colleges as they are now for the rest of time. They do have a right to progress. We want to endorse the view that the college sector is evolving and should be encouraged to develop," he said.

However, vice-chancellors were still keen to see greater collaboration, and possibly mergers, between universities and colleges "where appropriate", he added.

"We see the arrival of the Regional Development Agencies as significant for the college sector.

"We would expect to see more dialogue and development of relationships between universities and colleges at the regional level as a result," he said.

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