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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 2004): Education - UK - Higher

ACCOMMODATING CHANGE: THE PROCESS OF GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT AMONGST THE MATURE STUDENT POPULATION

J. Mercer and D. Saunders

Research in Post Compulsory Education, vol.9, 2004, p.283-299

The article explores the changes and conflicts experienced by mature students undertaking degree courses. Although the students found that their confidence increased both academically and socially and that they had grown as people, they also experienced more negative changes. Many found that family and friends did not understand why they were taking the course, seeing it as a waste of time, or that they could no longer relate to their old friends. Others found that their partners were threatened by their new found status, or felt guilty taking the time they needed to study. The article concludes that all of these experiences, not just the positive ones, need to be understood by practitioners if mature students are to be fully embraced in the higher education system.

ADVISER CALLS FOR MARKET IN DEGREES

M. Green

Financial Times, August 20th 2004, p.1

Universities should be allowed to expand or contract in response to demand, with applicants for undergraduate places spending a degree "voucher" on their chosen course, according to a government senior advisor. Steven Schwartz, vice-chancellor of Brunel University claims that a market for degrees would make differences between universities more transparent and restore confidence in A-level grades.

PROBE LAUNCHED AS UNIVERSITY CHIEFS FEAR STUDENTS ARE ABANDONING SCIENCE

M. Green

Financial Times, August 24th 2004, p.1

University funding chiefs have launched an investigation into unpopular undergraduate courses, as concern grows that students are abandoning traditional disciplines - such as science - in favour of fashionable "fuzzy" subjects.

PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION AND SKILLS: LIBERALISING HIGHER EDUCATION FOR THE PROFESSIONS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

C. Paisey and N.J. Paisey

Research in Post-Compulsory Education, vol.9, 2004, p.161-181

The article looks at the application of higher education in professional contexts in three specific disciplines - accountancy, law and medicine. All three professions are facing a knowledge explosion and it is becoming increasingly difficult for graduates to have covered all aspects of the knowledge-based curriculum. The article begins with an in-depth analysis of the syllabus in all three disciplines to identify the nature and purpose of higher education in these fields. Commons trends are then discussed and the article concludes by considering liberalising the curricula in these professions.

STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT IN UK HIGHER EDUCATION: TOWARDS RESOURCE-BASED COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES

R. Lynck and P. Baines

Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, vol.26, 2004, p.171-187

UK universities have increasingly competed with one another for the best students, the highest quality staff, and research funding from the government. In business the Resource-Based View Concept seeks to identify special "bundles of resources" possessed by an organisation that enable it to outperform its competitors. The paper applies the Resource-Based View Concept to UK universities and finds that some possess knowledge-based, reputational, innovative and architectural (network of relationships) advantages over others.

STUDENT DEBT HITS £12,000, SAYS STUDY

L. Ward

The Guardian, August 11th 2004. p.7

The debts owed by students leaving university have leapt up by a third during the past year to an average of more than £12,000 for each new graduate, according to students interviewed by the NatWest Bank. According to students the overall cost of a three-year degree now stands at £23,800, up from £19,400 last year.

(See also Financial Times, August 11th 2004, p.2; The Times, August 11th 2004, p.10)

STUDENTS NOT AS CLEVER AS THEY USED TO BE

A. Blair, S. Coulombeau and O. Brown

The Times, August 10th 2004, p.4

According to a survey carried out by The Times more than a third of lecturers consider the academic ability of university students to be worse than it was 10 years ago and more than one in four believes degrees have been devalued as a result. The results reflect growing concern that the Government's target of more than 50 per cent of school-leavers attending university by 2010 threatens to devalue higher education and lead to a proliferation of so-called "Micky Mouse degrees"

A THIRD OF CLASS OF 2003 ARE UNEMPLOYED

L. Ward

The Guardian, August 11th 2004, p.7

Fewer than two-thirds of last year's graduates have entered the world of full-time employment, according to the latest government figures. Despite evidence of graduates' mounting debts on leaving university, more than 7% of those graduating last year - 12,900 out of a total of 182,300 - are not in work or study and are assumed to be unemployed. The findings are published in the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) annual survey of graduate destinations.

TUITION FEE MOVE TO BOOST YOUNG MEDICS

M. Green

Financial Times, August 11th 2004, p.2

The full cost of variable tuition fees for medical and dental students in their fifth and sixth years of training will be met by the government. The move is aimed at combating what is described as the "gin and gold" image of medicine by boosting the number of trainee doctors from working class backgrounds

UNIVERSITY TO UNI: THE POLITICS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN ENGLAND SINCE 1944

R. Stevens

London: Politico's, 2004

This book is designed to provide a background for the current debate on the shape, funding, and social purposes of higher education in England. The author is concerned with the interaction between politics and higher education in Britain, tracing the development of the university sector from Rab Butler's Education Act in 1944 to Charles Clarke's White Paper in 2003.

The book chronicles the increasing insistence over that time that the primary purpose of universities is not to transmit cultural values but to ensure the success of the economy. It also seeks to portray how far the role of universities as independent actors on the political scene has declined and concludes by asking whether that independence can be reinstated - assuming it is desirable - as a result of the 2003 White Paper.

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