University sector rises to challenge from Education Secretary

The Education Secretary has today (22 May) praised action taken by universities and companies after he challenged them to protect quality in higher education, while defending his right to speak out after being accused of making unlawful interventions. GOV.UK reports.

Damian Hinds recently challenged the sector to do more to end the use of essay writing services, curb artificial grade inflation and stop using questionable student recruitment techniques.

The Education Secretary has now welcomed that at least 15 universities ended or pledged to review their use of ‘conditional unconditional’ offers, which they stated following his letter to institutions expressing concerns over these practices.

In the last six weeks, 19 of the 23 universities challenged on their use of these offers have written back to the Education Secretary – with the majority making positive commitments – which he maintains is an acceptance that the practice is often not in the student’s interest.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “… I am delighted by the actions taken so far to rise to the challenge of preserving that quality. I wholeheartedly support PayPal’s decision to withdraw services from essay-writing firms that are exploiting university students. This is a big step forward towards beating academic cheating but we now need more organisations to follow suit – it is their moral duty to do so.”

“While I am pleased that many university leaders are taking the issue seriously, it is a shame there are still some trying to justify practices which are damaging the integrity of our higher education and students’ interests.

I make no apology for speaking out as I have done. I could not stand idly by watching questionable practices spread and educational standards slide. Universities are making billions of pounds in public funds, as well as students own contributions, and I have a responsibility also to sixth form teachers, who want all their students to have the same incentive to reach their best. It is my job to make sure the education system works to help everyone make the most of their potential, and I am not afraid to get my hands dirty for this.”

Read more University sector rises to challenge from Education Secretary 

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