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The UK's University system - some thoughts before Lord Browne's Report is published on Tuesday

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You have to hope that Lord Browne's Report started with: What is the UK's university sector for before he then tells how it ought to be funded?

Here's what would be in my Report:

1. A compulsory gap year between school and university including a three month paid compulsory national social service scheme

2. The introduction of an Ofsted for teaching at undergraduate level and a secondary assessment of whether all universities are fit for purpose.

3. Those students at school currently on an Educational Maintenance Grant should receive free tuition.

4. All students should pay for their accommodation.

5. A Student bank created by an alliance with the Post Office-John Lewis-Co-op should be formed with the deposits coming from the new banking tax on the City. This should be topped up by the Government as and when. Students would seek fee and accommodation loans from them at the going interest rates. The new bank would be a not-for-profit and all profits would come back into the system

6. Tuition fees should not be capped for those universities who are placed in the top 20 in the world for research
7. Our top universities should take under their umbrella other universities in their region which are not top flight.

8. A new cadre of private research institutes at post graduate level should be actively encouraged

9. Students seeking to study maths, the sciences, engineering or technology should receive greater financial assistance

10. Every county council, unitary authority or metropolitan county to have at least one combined undergraduate, FE and adult college in its jurisdiction.

11. Part-time students to be treated as students per se and eligible for all grants or awards

12. The university sector will move to a two entry system in any one academic year so that three year degree honours degree courses will be reduced to two years by extending the terms of all students.

There's more but it'll be interesting to see what Browne' says on Tuesday in a Report which as ever and despite what the PM said in his speech has been widely leaked.


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