Scottish teaching to get Pounds 1m boost

June 2, 1995

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council is launching a Pounds 1 million initiative to help improve the quality of teaching in Scotland's 21 higher education institutions.

In a thorough analysis of the 120 quality assessments carried out so far, the SHEFC has found substantial differences between institutions in the way staff are taking up development and training opportunities.

It warns that an innovative, student-centred approach is lacking and says a significant number of assessments revealed that rather than using videos, presentations and information technology, much of the teaching was "talk and chalk".

"Reports often suggested that more use could be made of presentations by external experts in industry as one way of ensuring the continued relevance of the curriculum to the world of work."

On the issue of wider access, the SHEFC says that while some institutions were successful in recruiting students with non-standard qualifications, they were less successful in supporting them once they arrived.

It wants to see planned training programmes for both academic and academic-related staff such as librarians, technicians, student counsellors and careers advisers, in techniques for student-centred learning, the use of technology in teaching, improved student support services, and secondments to and from industry and commerce.

Priorities will vary among institutions, it says, and the SHEFC is inviting detailed proposals by the end of July for how the funds would be used. The grants, based on funded student numbers, range from Pounds 117,300 for Glasgow University and Pounds 8,400 for the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where much of the teaching is on a one-to-one basis.

The SHEFC is also considering a quality "kitemark" for institutions whose courses are judged satisfactory or better.

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