UUK backs students' rights

November 21, 2003

Students have every right to call their universities to account, the chief executive of Universities UK said this week.

Speaking at a "Students' complaints" conference, Baroness Warwick said:

"Long gone are the times when it was considered that the recipients of higher education were privileged and should be grateful for whatever they received. Today's students quite rightly have high expectations."

Welcoming the establishment of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in England and Wales, she said: "We should see this development as a supplement to, not a substitute for, our internal procedures."

It was announced last month that Ruth Deech, principal of St Anne's College, Oxford, would be the first independent adjudicator.

Jaswinder Gill of Gill's solicitors, who specialises in student complaints, said: "What students want are transparent procedures that take account of the fact that every day's delay damages a student's education and yet means nothing to the university."

The OIA became a legal entity in July, but legislation is needed before its decisions become legally binding.

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