V-cs pull reins on overseas franchises

November 1, 1996

Vice chancellors are to address the worries created by damning quality agency reports on some British-accredited courses in Greece. The council of the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, which meets today, will consider proposals for a tightening of quality monitoring and improved advice services.

One option is placing a secondee from higher education in the British Council office in Athens. The secondee could provide British institutions with guidance on local conditions and also strengthen the information service to Greek inquirers. This would be seen as a signal that British universities are taking seriously the special circumstances of Greece - where the British Council receives 85,000 inquiries a year - and the recent difficulties.

The vice chancellors are likely to endorse a proposal from the Higher Education Quality Council and the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service for an annually updated directory of UK-accredited foundation courses offered by Greek institutions. They are also expected to back the HEQC's proposal that they should include a return visit to Greece in their programme of overseas audit visits for 1997.

In the longer term it is suggested that HEQC and CVCP develop a more systematic method of logging overseas complaints. The CVCP's international sector group will be asked to consider strategy for improving current promotional arrangements and information management.

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