Universities minister issues ‘bums on seats’ warning over cheap degree courses

Universities must not put “bums on seats” ahead of providing high-quality degrees that offer students value for money and good earning potential, the Universities Minister has said. ITV reports.

In a stark warning, Sam Gyimah said institutions need to take responsibility and “police themselves” to ensure they are not offering “threadbare” and “cheap” courses.

He argued that there is variability between courses and institutions in potential future income that is a cause for concern.

Speaking to reporters at the Higher Education Policy Institute conference in London, Mr Gyimah said it was important for students, the taxpayer and the higher education system that universities “take the responsibility to police themselves around existing course offering, but also in terms of any future courses – thinking very carefully, is this about “wanting to expand” or is it about offering a high quality degree worthy of our university sector, and higher learning that students will benefit from”.

“How do you deal with class sizes, how do you deal with lectures, when you’re expanding this much? Is it right that you have a lecture hall in which there are some people at the back of the hall without even a desk to write on? This is stuff that I hear on my tour of universities.”

In his speech to the conference, Mr Gyimah said new findings on graduate earnings, published today, “demonstrate that studying the same subject at a different institution can yield a very different earnings premium”.

From a salary perspective, there are many institutions and courses that are delivering big benefits, Mr Gyimah said. But he added: “There are a clutch of courses that seem not to be.”

Read more Universities minister issues ‘bums on seats’ warning over cheap degrees courses

Please tellus your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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