Regulatory and governance
OfS have confirmed its new Conditions of Registration, intended to tackle poor quality provision, which will come into effect on 1 May 2022:
- New condition B1 stipulates that courses should be up-to-date, challenging, well delivered, and equip students with the skills they need post-graduation.
- New condition B2 requires that all courses, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, receive the resources and support they need to succeed in their courses and after graduation.
- New condition B4 requires universities to assess students effectively and to award credible qualifications that stand the test of time.
- New condition B5 is designed to ensure that the qualifications offered by a university are consistent with sector-recognised standards.
One for the governance geeks: the AUA Consulting blog has a post arguing the case for paying the chairs of university governing bodies.
In a debate in the House of Lords, peers were singularly unimpressed by the higher education reforms outlined in the government’s response to the Augar review.
The House of Commons Library has a research briefing on the government’s conclusions. House of Commons Library briefings are generally very thorough, and are politically neutral.
Student experience and wellbeing
It was University Mental Health Day this week. A survey carried out by Student Minds in January found that 52% of students felt lonely or isolated in the Autumn, yet nearly half of those with mental health issues said that they had no intention of disclosing this to their University.
The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has published a report which argues that institutional intolerance towards drug use is deterring students from accessing wellbeing services for support. It proposes that universities treat drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal matter.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science has called for Russia to be suspended from the Bologna processes and the European Higher Education Area. The country’s National Agency for Higher Education Quality has asked educators and researchers globally to end all collaborations with Russian higher education and research institutions. Concern is being raised within the sector, however, about the possibility of blanket academic boycotts – UUK has issued a statement on this, citing the peer-to-peer nature of many academic collaborations and noting that many Russian academics are at personal peril because of their criticism of the invasion.
Meanwhile, THE has an interview with a Ukrainian Professor and MP who is currently sheltering in Kyiv.
UUK has published a report advising universities to “strongly discourage personal relationships between staff and students” and calls for a ban on the use of non-disclosure agreements in sexual misconduct and harassment cases. However, the 1752 group has already disassociated itself from the report on the basis that it didn’t believe the guidance was a genuine attempt to make a difference for students.