Union claims institute

August 15, 1997

THE ASSOCIATION of University Teachers wants lecturers to set the standards for and run the higher education teaching accreditation scheme recommended in the Dearing report.

The AUT's submission to the Government's post-Dearing consultation says that the Dearing-recommended Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education should be "owned" by the profession as a whole and not hived off to an outside agency or quango.

Paul Cottrell, AUT assistant general secretary, said: "If it is not close to the lecture hall then it will not gain the credibility it needs. We do not want to see it run by the funding councils, for example."

Sir Ron's recommendation 14 said that the institute should be established immediately by representative bodies, such as the AUT, with the funding bodies.

Mr Cottrell said the institute should accredit training programmes for lecturers and commission research and development in learning and teaching practices, as well as stimulating innovation.

He said that the institute could be run along the lines of the institutes for engineers, architects and other professionals.

The union would be happy to have lecturer accreditation overseen by an "outside agent", Mr Cottrell said, as long as the "core" activities were run by professionals.

The AUT wants the scheme to apply initially to new lecturers. Existing lecturing staff should not be compelled, but "encouraged", to opt for training.

The union believes that the institute should set national standards and that young academics should have to pass a required standard before being allowed to lecture.

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