Tuesday, 23 August 2011

national curriculum for universities

A report by the 'liberal' think tank CentreForum, claims that Russell Group universities should focus on research whilst the ‘regular’ universities should focus on teaching at an affordable price. The report, Degrees of quality: how to deliver the courses we need at prices we can afford, argues that to maintain quality ‘a set of standardised courses and exams would be designed by ‘research’ institutions and other expert bodies – to be delivered through a ‘collegiate’ type arrangement in teaching based institutions’
'It warns that government plans to introduce a market in higher education may have undesirable consequences, with more providers making quality and value less easy to determine. It is suggested that moving to common standards and independent marking will be an effective quality control measure, similar to A-levels.'

What do you think about an national curriculum for universities?Are the Russell group the best people to design this or should teaching universities have a say also? What makes a research intensive group qualified to design a teaching curriculum? I think it would be more fair to have representatives from all the university groups in a common steering group that led change in this area. As is frequently pointed out the non research intensive universities may not be top in research but are very good at teaching so they should have input into a university curriculum.

Do we even need a national curriculum for universities? How does this help ensure quality? and would this mean that it doesn't matter which university you go to as they will all be exactly the same or will there still be a prevalent elitist attitude? The current national curriculum for schools is under review as has been called 'substandard' by the current government and has created increasing amounts of paperwork for teachers who can spare little time to really enable students to learn. Do we want such a broken system in our universities or will we be able to come up with something better?

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