Validator keeps an eye on orthoptics

October 10, 1997

QUESTIONS were raised this week over the continued validation of a paramedical degree at the troubled Glasgow Caledonian University, while Strathclyde University has issued an ultimatum over a collaborative journalism course.

The Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine this week visited GCU to review interim validation arrangements for the BSc in orthoptics, the science of correcting defective vision. These were drawn up two years ago, after the council's board decided to withdraw approval because of concerns over understaffing and course changes.

The council's registrar, Mike Hall, said validation was a means of protecting the public, since students could practise immediately after graduation without supervision. Validated courses could not be significantly changed without the board's approval.

A university spokesman said the staff/student ratio for orthoptics was already better than levels acceptable to other professions allied to medicine. The CPSM said it wanted four state-registered orthoptists on the course, while the university had three full-time teachers and part-time staff who met the board's requirements.

Meanwhile, John Arbuthnott, Strathclyde's principal, has written to GCU warning that a joint postgraduate journalism course, housed in GCU, is in jeopardy because of accommodation problems. Strathclyde will reconsider its collaboration unless the course moves to its Jordanhill campus or the GCU facilities are improved.

Course director Jenny McKay said: "Much better accommodation was offered by Strathclyde and rejected by Caledonian, who then undertook to provide adequate accommodation and appropriate computer management. They have not done that, and we have already had to cancel classes as a result. We will certainly have to cancel more unless something is done."

But Bill Scott, head of GCU's department of language and media, said most concerns had been addressed. Technical issues would be resolved next week.

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