Watchdog growls over UK-Singapore partnerships – but does not bite

Five institutions inspected by the quality watchdog over their partnerships with providers in Singapore have been advised to take action to ensure their written agreements are “fit for purpose”.

August 6, 2011

The audits by the Quality Assurance Agency, which looked at relationships between 10 UK universities and Singaporean providers, found “many examples of good practice” but suggested action did need to be taken in some areas.

Overall 66 universities or colleges in the UK have one or more Singaporean partners with a total of 471 UK higher education programmes being delivered in the state, 62 per cent of which are in business and administrative studies.

The audits, which were carried out in 2010-11, found that generally there were no causes for concern among the link ups, with procedures for choosing partners “well designed”, institutions providing clear information for students and assessment arrangements “generally comprehensive, secure and robust”.

However, the QAA said it also found instances where quality assurance could improve.

Although each partnership was governed by a written agreement setting out each institution’s respective responsibilities, QAA auditors advised half of those audited to take action to strengthen them.

Three institutions were also advised to take action on their requirements for selecting and approving partner organisations, while the QAA suggested that half of those audited should look at how they monitor and review provision.

One of the partnerships audited involved the University of Wales, which has already been criticised for its overseas provision in Singapore in reports published by the QAA in June.

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