Weekly Digest 01/12/2022

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Industrial action

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) general secretary, Mick Lynch, joined university staff in a London rally on the third day of sector-wide strike action. Times Higher Education (THE) and the Guardian report on the rally.

Quality and regulation

OfS has published a report which describes their new approach to grouping higher education providers in the data and analysis they present and reflects the diversity of the providers they regulate.

Almost two-thirds of English universities could potentially face sanctions for failing to meet new OfS quality thresholds that were introduced last month, analysis suggests.

The quality of apprenticeships in England has come under criticism in a report from think tank EDSK. No Train, No Gain discusses a lack of meaningful training and high dropout rates.

OfS has published a report looking at student co-creation as part of their Mental Health Funding Competition: using innovation and intersectional approaches to target mental health support for students.

Fees and funding

Government action including more hardship funding, bigger maintenance loans and restored grants would all complement universities’ efforts to help students cope with the cost-of-living crisis, argues Sarah Stevens, director of policy at the Russell Group.

The Student Loans Company has updated its guidance for students facing financial hardship due to prior overpayments resulting in a reduced entitlement.

Research England has confirmed allocations for the additional QR funding and Research Capital Investment Fund (RCIF) grants announced by the government last week.

UKRI has also outlined the disbursement mechanisms for the new Talent and Research Stabilisation funding, which will be allocated according to historic performance in four Horizon 2020 schemes.

Student experience

UCAS’ latest Next Steps report, published in collaboration with Unite Foundation, draws on analysis of applications and a survey of 500 applicants to investigate the support offered to applicants with care experience.

Advance HE’s Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) results show student satisfaction has recovered to pre-pandemic levels. THE discusses how this may be masking concerns among UK students about the impact of rapid expansion and long-running industrial disputes.

Students in England are likely to be hit even harder by cost-of-living pressures than first thought, with the poorest now predicted to be up to £1,000 worse off.

International news

Hundreds of University of California faculty pledged to join a strike by teaching and research assistants.  The University system has reached a tentative contract agreement with two of its four striking worker groups, but without yet ending the campus walkout.

THE considers what the World Cup tournament – and the global reaction to it - is likely to mean for the universities based there.

Universities in Saudi Arabia take five of the top 10 spots in the second year of Times Higher Education’s Arab University Rankings.

University students at dozens of campuses across China have joined a growing chorus expressing their frustration over Beijing’s continuing zero-tolerance Covid policy, THE reports.

Pola Lem, THE Reporter, speaks to Ukrainian academics currently based in the UK about what it is like to try to build new lives in difficult circumstances.

Other sector news

Fiona Hill will be the new chancellor of Durham University.

Global University Systems has purchased FutureLearn from the Open University and Seek Group. The Open University launched the online course provider in 2013 which currently has 50 UK universities as partners.

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