Weekly Digest 12/01/2023

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Quality and regulation

The Office for Students (OfS) has published the minutes for the October 2022 meeting of its student panel, a session which included discussion of changes to the NSS, OfS’ forthcoming prevalence survey into sexual misconduct within higher education institutions, and the rising cost of living.

OfS has also launched The National Student Survey (NSS) 2023, which is now live for final year undergraduate students to report on their university experience.

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has published a self-assessment report in advance of a European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) quinquennial review.

Student recruitment

New undergraduate recruitment fell by up to a quarter at some of the UK’s most prestigious universities this autumn, new data show.

UCAS has released provider level and equalities data for the 2022 End of Cycle, completing the publication of official statistics from the last undergraduate recruitment cycle.

A new British Academy report, Studying SHAPE: 2022, is the first in a planned annual series of trend data on uptake of social science and humanities subjects at level 2 and 3 across the UK.

Training and employment opportunities

Engineering UK has launched an inquiry into the decline in apprenticeship starts in engineering, to be led by peers Jim Knight and David Willetts.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a report detailing the experiences faced by graduates entering the workforce during an economic downturn. The Telegraph also covers the story.

Discover Uni has worked with UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) on the redevelopment of its UK Games Map, which will bring students and employers closer together in the video gaming industry.

Fees, funding and cost of living

Students in England this September will receive an increase in maximum maintenance loans of just 2.4 per cent, the Department for Education has announced, with the result that students from the poorest families will be around £1,500 worse off than if maintenance levels had kept pace with inflation. Times Higher Education also reports.

The Guardian covers news of a rent strike in halls of residence at The University of Manchester over the cost of living.

The Times has comments from Universities UK chief executive Vivienne Stern on the climate crisis and the cost of living.

Staff pay and conditions

The University and College Union (UCU) has claimed that Monday’s New JNCHES negotiating meeting did not see the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) put an upgraded pay offer on the table for the 2022-23 academic year.

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association has written to the five trade unions participating in the 2023-24 pay round. The new pay offer would see a minimum 4 per cent uplift to pay in 2023-24, with those on lower salaries seeing up to a 7 per cent uplift.

This week saw Irene Tracey’s inauguration as Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford. In her speech at the ceremony she announced a new commission on all aspects of staff pay and conditions. The Times has the interview, while the Guardian covers her comments on staffing conditions.

International news

China’s reversal of its zero-Covid policy has brought some optimism for domestic and overseas students, even as the country reels from a huge wave of infections.

Columbia University has hired Hillary Clinton, former US senator and secretary of state, as a professor to teach students and lead outreach projects in international and public affairs.

Accusations of plagiarism regarding a sacred medieval book have led to a dispute in Switzerland involving online threats and allegations that staff and offices were invented.

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