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The editor of the Adults Learning magazine produced by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education has given a cautious welcome to the Government’s Higher Education White Paper.
Paul Stanistreet has written a column for www.fenews.co.uk giving his thoughts on the content of the paper.
Mr Stanistreet said: “The Government's Higher Education White Paper contains much that is welcome from the perspective of mature and part-time students, but there are risks and concerns too, particularly about the potential impact of the reforms on quality, student demand and widening participation.
“The UK is an ageing society and the traditional model of a three-year residential degree, while valuable, is not suitable for everyone. We need a system of higher education that goes with the grain of adults' complex lives and encourages institutions to offer more part-time provision. As the White Paper notes, FE colleges and other alternative providers can improve student choice and support a more diverse sector by creating 'more opportunities for part-time or accelerated courses, sandwich courses, distance learning and higher-level vocational study'.
“The White Paper promises 'a renewed focus on high-quality teaching' and this is likely to be helped both by the enhanced role given to colleges and the emphasis on empowering students and prospective students. However, there is a clear tension between the government's wish to raise the quality and diversity of teaching in the sector and its desire push down the costs of university education.”
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Posted by Nick Tellwright
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