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16 December

Fulfilling our Potential for Higher Education

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The recent government Green Paper FULFILLING OUR POTENTIAL: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice, throws open the challenges faced by the current highly stratified HE sector. For greater insight into these challenges, ready the Green Paper here

It is set to bring the traditional university structure into conflict with the new breed of corporate or private institutions. Russell group members are already setting out the drive for equality of learning and access to learning from disadvantaged groups through their traditional definition of excellence and often privileged perspective.

Undoubtedly the 20 Russell group members have made a huge contribution to access to learning through not least some £243 million of scholarship grants. It is easy to suggest this model of wealth and resources is where the government should focus its attention to ensure that we retain our landmark quality and reputation in the global market. Unfortunately the government plays a lesser and lesser role in in the funding of these global superstars. What is critical is getting the rest of the sector performing to the standards of the Russell group but in the context of the markets they serve. Above all where in the sector will employability and skills play a key role in reflecting the quality of education, just as the Research Excellence Framework has achieved. For greater insight into these challenges, ready the Green Paper here

The undisputable message post the Blair and Brown reforms to HE has been growing numbers of graduates with poor employability skills who are in fact worse off than if they had not gone to university. Perhaps there are too many programmes not focused on UK plc and too many universities, I hesitate to say weaker ones, churning out graduates because they can get them funded rather than seeking a role in the economic contribution of their graduates to society and UK plc.

Segmentation and competition can create barriers to entry for innovative and appropriate styles of delivery and learning. Setting out a Green Paper to understand better the relationship between market segment and quality together with the reduction in barriers to entry for innovation in education and learning. No one argues for less control of over the quality and governance of these innovative approaches to learning but they can reduce the barriers to allow their place in a digital learning landscape be fully understood. Educational Academy advisers are ready to help in grasping the challenges potentially arising from the Green paper and provide help in aligning your market segment with the liberalisation proposed by the government.
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