The new UK government is planning to change how the UK’s universities work and has pledged to invest more in them, with the aim of giving students the best chance of becoming academics.
Key points: The government wants to change the way universities work to make sure they are more “fit for purpose” and deliver more graduates “This will be the most significant change in the history of British higher education, and will transform the way we run our universities,” Universities Minister Matthew Hancock said in a statement.
“It will mean that universities will be more fit for purpose and that students will have the best possible chance of being academics.”
The Government says the new model will be in place for at least five years.
The key changes include allowing students to take their degree online, where the universities are funded from fees from the public purse.
It also wants to give students the option of taking a two-year diploma that can be used as a “first-year” qualification, but is not a professional degree.
There are currently 18,000 students taking the Leaving Certificate or equivalent courses, but the government hopes that figure will be cut to 9,000 by 2020, with more graduates being eligible to take the exam.
Its goal is to provide an overall increase of around 30,000 graduates a year by 2020.
Hancock said the changes were needed because “a lack of choice in higher education means that students are left behind when they go to university”.
“The number of people who can’t go to college or university because of financial pressures is a real concern,” he said.
While the changes are not expected to affect every institution, the government says it is “absolutely committed” to making them “fit and proper for purpose”.
More to come.