Soton does U-turn over Athens

August 16, 1996

In an attempt to keep its troubled Athens campus open, Southampton Institute of Higher Education is asking undergraduates on maritime courses to complete their studies in Greece. This moves comes despite a confidential internal report which said that the degree programme would have to be cancelled because of the poor quality of teaching.

The report, presented to governors in June and seen by The THES, revealed that the second year of the maritime studies degree at Southampton Solent Campus in Athens was to be terminated because of "the difficulties in recruiting quality maritime staff" and because "academic progress has been disappointing".

Governors heard that it would be "unwise" to carry on with the course "until there has been a further running of year one of the maritime programme" and that students would have to be moved to England to complete their studies.

The institute acknowledged the decision would "come as a disappointment to some parents" but said it was "the best way forward".

The campus dean was asked to supervise the transfer of students to England to complete their studies.

But the institute has now backtracked on this, and the campus will now run the second year in Athens. It will also run a first-year maritime programme and, in a bid to recruit more students, a foundation maritime course as well.

A spokesperson confirmed that the institute had rescinded the earlier decision, explaining that "we have a big job to do in Athens, and we are obviously keen to recoup the investment that we have made".

He could not confirm whether or not the changes needed to tackle the problems of teaching standards raised in the June report had been implemented.

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