Surveying body in accreditation row

February 16, 2001

The University of Central England is to challenge the inclusion of anyone involved in the decision to withdraw surveying course accreditation in associated research assessment panels.

Peter Knight, UCE's vice-chancellor, has condemned the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' withdrawal of accreditation from 15 colleges and universities, calling it "unilateral, irrational and capricious". He said it would make courses unviable and would lead to staff redundancies.

Rics defended its new partnership criteria, saying it would raise professional standards. One criterion is that universities must not achieve less than a two and meet certain conditions in this year's research assessment exercise.

Dr Knight has warned that he will challenge the inclusion of anyone involved with the Rics decision in the relevant research assessment panel because they would be "clearly prejudiced".

David Bleiman, assistant general secretary of the Association of University Teachers (Scotland), said: "If one or two departments lose accreditation, this looks as if they are not up to the mark. But when so many departments lose accreditation, this looks like an attempt by a professional body to undertake higher education planning and it undermines the role of the funding councils."

Rob Tovey, Rics head of education and training, said the institution must be allowed to set its own standards.

"There is no other ulterior motive than to ensure that the teaching of surveying education reflects new thinking," he said.

The Rics general council is setting up an independent review panel to look at the new partnership and accreditation decisions.

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