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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2012): Education - UK - higher

10% drop predicted in UK university applications

J. Shepherd

The Guardian, Jan. 30th 2012, p. 9

The proportion of UK students applying to start degrees in the Autumn of 2012 would drop by 10%, a university leader predicted - the steepest fall for 30 years. Professor David Green, vice-chancellor of the University of Worcester, based his forecast on more than 25 years' involvement in university applications, nine of them as the head of an institution. His prediction came ahead of the publication of figures showing how many students had applied to start university in Autumn 2012 - when fees rose to up to 9,000 a year. The figures, published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas), gave the number of applications institutions received by 15 January - the official deadline.

(See also The Guardian, Jan 31st 2012, p. 4)

American-backed private universities plan is dropped

R. Winnett and G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 24th 2012, p. 6

This article reports that a Higher Education Bill which was to be introduced in the 2012/13 Parliamentary session had been delayed and was unlikely to be published before 2015. The legislation was designed to make it easier for private colleges, including big American education firms, to set up new universities in Britain. It had been hoped that more competition, together with tougher regulation of universities, would drive down costs for students. However, the Prime Minister was unwilling to embark on radical reform of higher education while fighting to reorganise the NHS, schools and welfare benefits.

First-class degrees double in a decade

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 13th 2012, p. 1 + 4

Figures released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed that the number of students awarded first class honours degrees had more than doubled in a decade from 23,700 to 53, 215 in 2011. The announcement prompted new warnings about the danger of grade inflation and fears that some academics were coming under pressure to mark up students' work in order to improve universities' positions in league tables.

Ranking the outcomes from the assessment of research in the UK

A. Kelly

International Journal of Management in Education, vol. 6, 2012, p. 74-87

The Research Excellence Framework (REF), previously the 'RAE', is an assessment undertaken on behalf of the UK government to gauge the quality of research in universities. It is a public display of reputation that carries with it considerable risk in terms of losing face and funding. The 2008 RAE focused on three categories of research output quantified on a common scale and ranked by the national media (and internally by universities) using an arbitrary weighting system. Using data from 'Education' as an example, this paper develops an alternative 'justified' weighting system for possible use in the forthcoming (2014) REF.

Transferral of business management concepts to universities as ambidextrous organisations

S. Tahar, C. Niemeyer and R. Boutellier

Tertiary Education and Management, vol. 17, 2011, p. 289-308

In the context of new public management reforms, many business management concepts were transferred to universities. Most studies on the transfer of business management concepts to universities show that transfers were not as successful as expected. These studies also provide nuances as to why it is such a delicate matter. However, a basic rationale of facilitating the transfer of business management concepts is missing. With this paper we provide a new rationale which can facilitate the transfer of business management concepts. We show that it is promising to model universities as ambidextrous organisations since they face the dilemma of simultaneously enabling creativity and efficiency. As such, using case study research, we find that ambidextrous universities operate within two different organisational structures. Consequently, management concepts such as risk management cannot be implemented uniformly across a university. They need to be adapted to the organisational context in order to be effective and accepted.

University demand falls by 8 per cent

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 5th 2012, p. 1

Figures published in January 2012 showed that the number of British applicants for university places had fallen by 7.6% compared to 2011. Among older students, applications were down by more than 14%. Labour politicians claimed that students were being put off by the threat of rising tuition fees and huge debts.

(See also The Guardian, Jan. 5th 2012, p. 1)

University places cut back by 15,000

G. Paton

Daily Telegraph, Jan. 26th 2012, p. 2

The Coalition government announced in January 2012 that fewer undergraduate places would be available at English universities in September 2012, coinciding with the introduction of higher tuition fees. Ministers said that 10,000 temporary places, offered in previous years to cope with sudden surges in applications, would not be made available in 2012. A further 5,000 places normally allocated to universities that had over-recruited were also to be cut.

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