UEL Vice-Chancellor warning over higher education revamp

University of East London Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick McGhee has expressed concern at planned government changes to higher education.

University of East London Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick McGhee has expressed concern at planned government changes to higher education.

A government White Paper, Students at the Heart of the System, outlines plans to make universities compete for a core of students, provide advance figures of how many graduates get into employment, and make teachers give more feedback on students’ progress.

Prof McGhee said: “We support the sentiment of putting students in the driving seat, but we are not sure that the reality of the government’s proposals matches up to their rhetoric of responding to market demand and providing room for growth.”

UEL, based in Stratford and the Docklands, points at the numbers of minority groups it has such as black, Asian, under-privileged and mature students.


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‘Social mobility’

Prof McGhee added: “Universities are vital to help accelerate social mobility, but the sector will not achieve that by focusing on students whose parents and grandparents also went to university. If the Government is serious about the importance of higher education for its social mobility agenda, then they need universities like UEL to expand and meet the demand that continues to grow even in the context of higher fees.

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“Allowing only cheaper higher education provision to expand forces students into studying cut-price, flat-pack degrees when they would prefer to attend a university that continues to invest in research, teaching and the student experience.”

The government wants universities under competitive pressure to provide better quality at a lower cost.

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