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

14 PER CENT OF STUDENTS DROP OUT OF UNIVERSITY

T. Halpin

The Times, Sept. 30th 2004, p.8

One in seven students now at university is predicted to drop out before they complete their degrees, according to the latest "performance indicator" on higher education. The figures - complied by the Higher Education Statistics Agency - show a slight fall in the drop-out rate from 15 per cent the previous year.

BRITAIN SLIPS DOWN EDUCATION LEAGUE TABLE

S. Cassidy

The Independent, Sept. 15th 2004, p.8

A study by the OECD has concluded that:

  • the proportion of youngsters aged 15-19 who drop out of education in Britain is one of the highest in the developed world;
  • British graduates' increase in earning power is among the highest in the world;
  • British universities are losing out to institutions in other countries in the battle to attract lucrative overseas students.

(See also: The Financial Times, Sept. 15th 2004, p.4 and 21; The Times, Sept. 15th 2004, p.13; The Guardian, Sept. 15th 2004, p .11)

CLARKE ACTS ON "STRATEGIC" SUBJECTS

M. Green

Financial Times, Sept. 16th 2004, p.2

Government is concerned about too few students taking degrees in science and some modern languages. Financial incentives, such as tuition fee discounts, could be introduced to encourage students to take up these courses, and there could also be changes to university funding to protect departments in danger of closure.

FAIR ADMISSIONS TO HIGHER EDUCATION: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR GOOD PRACTICE

Admissions to Higher Education Steering Group

Nottingham: DfES Publications, 2004

Review of university admissions concluded that:

  • universities should consider applicants' "potential" as well as their A-level grades, so that working class and minority ethnic youngsters could win places ahead of equally qualified middle class applicants;
  • admissions tutors should consider whether applicants would increase the diversity of the student community by race, class or gender;
  • there should be one national aptitude test to measure students' potential, similar to the American Scholastic Aptitude Test;
  • the admissions system should be reformed so that students get their A-level grades before being offered places;
  • the UCAS application form should be amended to give students from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to explain this.

INCORPORATING DISABLED STUDENTS WITHIN AN INCLUSIVE HIGHER EDUCATION ENVIRONMENT

M. Fuller, A. Bradley and M. Healey

Disability and Society, vol.19, 2004, p.455-468

Students with a range of disabilities reflect on their experiences of teaching and assessment at a case study UK university

LEARN FOR JOY NOT JUST FOR JOBS SAYS NEW MINISTER

R. Smithers

Guardian, Sept. 24th 2004, p.12

Kim Howells, the new Higher Education Minister, predicts that cut-throat competition will enter the higher education market with the advent of top-up fees in 2006. Students will become consumers, shopping around for the best deal among a range of institutions.

ONE IN FOUR STUDENTS "SLEEPS IN LECTURES"

R. Garner and L .Hodges

Independent, Sept. 9th, 2004, p.2

A survey of more than 1,300 students at 96 universities shows that:

  • 25% are dissatisfied with teaching standards;
  • 58% admitted to skipping lectures or turning up late;
  • 25% admitted sleeping in lectures.

THE REVOLUTIONARY

W. Woodward

Education Guardian, Sept. 14th 2004, p.2-3

Today Steven Schwartz publishes his final report on university admissions. He wants offers to be made after exam results are known and for the whole process to be much more transparent. But will the institutions agree?

STORM WARNING

P. Curtis

Education Guardian, Sept. 21st 2004, p.2-5

As Vice-chancellors decide how much to charge students from 2006, the results of a survey show that most are ready to charge the maximum £3,000 fee. But the findings also show that the higher education sector is riven with doubt.

STUDENT TARGETS 'BLACKMAIL TOP UNIVERSITIES'

T. Halpin

The Times, Sept. 30th 2004, p.1

Private schools accused the government of blackmail after top universities were set tough new targets for admission of students from the state sector. Vice-chancellors warned that the goals were unattainable unless elite universities were forced to change their admissions policies by diluting academic standards

(See also The Daily Telegraph, Sept. 30th 2004, p.40

TALENT TEST URGED FOR UNIVERSITY SELECTION

M. Green

The Financial Times. Sept. 10th 2004, p.2

Pupils may in future be required to take a standard test in logic, maths and verbal reasoning alongside A-levels to help universities spot promising youngsters in underperforming schools.

(See also Times, Sept. 10th 2004, p.14)

TOP UNIVERSITIES FAILING THE POOR

L. Ward

The Guardian, Sept. 30th 2004, p.14

Britain's elite universities should aim higher in their quest to recruit state school pupils and those from the poorest backgrounds, figures published today indicate. The latest performance indicators from the Higher Education Statistics Agency reveal only a small increase in the proportion of students from state schools, up from 86% in 2001-02 to 87.2% in 2002-03, showing that efforts to attract students from a more diverse background are falling short.

TORY UNIVERSITY FUNDING PLAN CONDEMNED

L. Ward

Guardian, Sept. 9th 2004, p.7

The article reports reaction to the Conservatives' proposals for reform of higher education funding. They plan to abolish tuition fees but introduce commercial interest rates of up to 8% on student loans. Students would not have to pay until they earned £15,000 a year, but interest would accrue from graduation.

(see also Daily Telegraph, Sept. 9th 2004, p10)

UNDERSTANDING WORKING CLASS "DROP-OUT" FROM HIGHER EDUCATION THROUGH A SOCIOCULTURAL LENS: CULTURAL NARRATIVES AND LOCAL CONTEXTS.

J. Quinn

International Studies in Sociology of Education, vol.14, 2004, p.57-74

Article is part of an on-going research study looking at what working-class drop-out from higher education means to students, universities and communities. Universities are active in putting in place personal and study support, but this message is not getting through to students or the wider community. Current policy discourse appears to portray working class students as inherently flawed, with drop-out as the inevitable consequence. On the other hand, the possibility of university study has become part of working-class identity, but so has the expectation that the experience may be spoilt. Many young working-class people drop-out of higher education because they find it meaningless, and are looking for something more practical.

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