Under new measures unveiled by the higher education regulator, English universities could face fines if not enough of their students get graduate-level jobs within 15 months. The Office for Students has introduced the tests for subjects they deem “low quality”. Universities could be fined if fewer than 60 per cent of graduates in that subject fail to find work, set up their own business, or continue their studies after completing their course.
Fines could be up to £500,000, the regulator said.
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The move is designed to ensure that students get value for money from their courses and to discourage universities from offering low-quality programmes that do not lead to good student outcomes.
However, some have criticised the move, arguing that it could lead to universities “teaching to the test” and focusing on subjects that are more likely to lead to employment rather than those that may be of more value to society.
According to the latest figures, around 78 per cent of graduates in England were in employment or further study six months after graduating.
The government’s figures show that more than half of all graduate-level jobs in England are filled by graduates from overseas.
“Too many students are not getting the outcome they deserve from higher education,” said Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students.
“We want to ensure that students have the information they need to make informed choices about what and where to study, and we will act where providers deliver poor value for money.”
The new measures will come into effect in 2021/22.
In addition, it is unclear how the tests will be applied to subjects such as the arts and humanities, which may not lead directly to employment but could be of value in other ways.
What do you think of the new measures? Are they a good way to ensure students are getting value for money from their courses? Or do you think they could lead to universities “teaching to the test” and focusing on subjects that are more likely to lead to employment rather than those that may be of more value to society? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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