Watchdog snarls at UFI's use of title

June 5, 1998

QUALITY watchdog John Randall has cast doubt on the use of the term "university" in the government's flagship University for Industry project.

At a lifelong learning conference last week, Mr Randall, chief executive of the Quality Assurance Agency, said he was "suspicious of the casual use of the term".

"As recently as 1982 we had to legislate to stop people being ripped off by organisations unscrupulously using the term," he said. "The word has to have legitimate international currency. I am suspicious of the use of the term in the UFI, the British Aerospace virtual university, or the McDonald's University."

Mr Randall's comments will be seen as another blow to the government's attempt to make the UFI a household name. Open University vice-chancellor, Sir John Daniel, now a member of the project's steering group, has already said that the "UFI is not a university and is not really for industry".

Ministers are holding firm. As higher education minister Baroness Blackstone said at the launch: "The name is established."

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