V-cs: do not penalise flexible study

February 22, 2002

Universities that offer students flexible learning routes are being unfairly penalised, according to vice-chancellors.

Students who take time out, switch between full-time and part-time study, drop modules or delay taking final assessments, cost their universities dear. Under funding-council rules, universities receive less cash to teach these students.

Geoffrey Copland, head of the Coalition of Modern Universities and vice-chancellor of the University of Westminster, said: "We have well-established learning programmes based on modular structures with credit accumulation. We need the funding and performance measures to reflect that flexibility to support the student and the institution."

He said: "As more students seek to enter higher education and combine study, work and family, our funding must be responsive."

Deian Hopkin, vice-chancellor of South Bank University, said: "We encourage modularity and we encourage flexibility and then we find out that we do not get funding for it and we are penalised. I don't believe we will get the widening-participation agenda off the ground unless we address this."

The funding council is in discussions with Birkbeck College, London, about what completion means for part-time continuing education students. It is threatening to penalise the college after it said Birkbeck had been teaching students that it did not recognise as having completed their courses.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments