'Teaching research in danger'

December 20, 2002

Teaching as a research-based profession is in grave danger, education secretary Charles Clarke has been warned this week.

The British Educational Research Association has written to Mr Clarke to highlight the risk of destroying the "slowly growing research culture" in university departments of education.

Responding to the Higher Education Funding Council for England's review of research assessment, Michael Bassey, academic secretary of Bera, said:

"Government has embraced the idea that teaching should become a research-based profession. But then teacher education too must be research based and there lies our concern.

"There is a major problem for departments that have climbed the ladder of excellence too slowly to continue to get funding but are in the business of training teachers for a research-based profession."

Professor Bassey points out that of 62 institutions entering the last research assessment exercise, 23 got no cash support for research.

"Hefce has also decided that such departments should get no public funding for postgraduate students, although over 400 are registered for research degrees at these institutions. The consequence is likely to be that the slowly growing research culture of these institutions will be destroyed."

To support 3b and 2-rated initial teacher-training departments at the same level as 3a-rated ones would cost less than £1.5 million a year, Professor Bassey says.

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