Posted by: Administrator | 24/01/2010

From Educators for Reform: news related to higher education

Education media summary

A weekly round-up of all of the top education policy stories in the media, from


Thursday 14 January

The Research Excellence Framework will be delayed by up to two years if the Conservatives win the 2010 general election. The first REF, which will replace the research assessment exercise as the means of distributing £1.5 billion in annual quality-related funding in England, is due to complete in 2013, but the Conservatives intend to postpone it to allow time for a thorough review of plans to measure the wider social and economic impact of research (THE).

A report by million+, which represents newer universities, calls for student loans to be subject to a real interest rate but warns that increasing tuition fees could deter 17,000 people from entering higher education (THE).

A report by Research Councils UK has questioned whether the continuing growth in the number of academic staff is “sustainable” in light of the fiscal crisis (THE).


Friday 15 January
Up to 200,000 prospective university students are likely to miss out on a place this year because of unprecedented demand. Statistics reveal that last year record numbers of students took up places at UK universities, with more than 1.14 million students starting undergraduate or postgraduate courses in 2008-09 – a jump of seven per cent on the previous year (Guardian).

The number of university students graduating with a first-class degree has doubled in a decade, underlining fears over grade inflation. According to the latest figures, 14 per cent of students gained a first last year.  (Telegraph).


Monday 18 January
Gordon’s Brown’s promise to “constantly expand Britain’s middle class” will be fleshed out today by new measures to help working-class students break into the “closed shop” of many of the country’s professions.
Pat McFadden, Minister for Business, Innovation, and Skills, will announce the creation of an online “national internship service”, to match students with opportunities for work experience, while bursary funding will be available for those unable to support themselves (FT;Telegraph; Times; BBC Online).

David Cameron will today set out plans to turn teaching into a “brazenly elitist” profession.The Conservative leader wants to introduce tougher standards for postgraduate teaching programmes, and make it simpler for “high-flying professionals” from other walks of life to move into the classroom (FT; Telegraph; Guardian; Independent; Daily Mail; Sun; BBC Online).

Tuesday 19 January


The university think tank, million+, has claimed that Conservative Party plans to pay the debts of maths and science graduates who become teachers will benefit only students at a handful of established universities (Independent).


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