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Universities UK response to education committee report on value for money

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK

Universities UK responded today (5 Nov) to the education committee’s report on higher education in England.

Responding to the report, Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

“It is right to expect that students receive a high quality education and that all universities offer a high value experience. Our universities have a well-deserved international reputation for high quality teaching, learning and research, delivered by talented and dedicated staff.

“Universities have increased investment in teaching and learning and students continue to report record levels of satisfaction with their courses. Graduates leaving our universities are also increasingly in demand from employers. They are more likely to be in employment and earn on average £10,000 each year more than non-graduates.

“While there is still much more that needs to be done to improve social mobility, universities have made good progress in recent years. In 2017, 18-year-olds from the most disadvantaged areas in England were 82% more likely to enter higher education than they were in 2006. It is important that their work with schools and colleges continues.

“We agree that there has been a worrying drop in the number of part-time and mature students. We have recommended changes to the education system to better support universities offering shorter and more flexible courses.

“More flexible learning approaches, that fit around work and life, have the potential to tempt large numbers back in to education to improve themselves, boost social mobility and grow the economy.” 

Last week, Universities UK (UUK) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) made recommendations to encourage more flexible approaches to university courses.

The project found that a generation of ‘lost learners’ are missing out on the chance to develop the skills at university that employers and the UK economy need, because of the cost and time it takes to study part-time or more flexibly.

Universities UK published a report earlier this year on Solving future skills challenges. The report indicated that there will be unmet demand for level 4 and 5 higher level qualifications (such as HNCs, HNDs, and Foundation Degrees).

The report looks also at the rapid pace of change and increasing complexity of work, and highlights the need for continual skill upgrading, lifelong learning and study of higher education qualifications at all levels.

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