Education & Family

Universities shake-up: Your views

A planned shake-up of higher education in England is being set out by the government.

Universities will be able to compete for some student places, be held accountable for the quality of their teaching, and be forced to provide more information about the employment prospects from particular courses.

Here lecturers and students share their views on the proposed changes.

Former student, Auste Mastaviciute, Nottingham

Image caption "Increasing competition among universities would improve the quality of education"

As a recent economics graduate I believe that increasing competition among universities would improve the quality and efficiency of education while making higher education prices lower and more competitive.

I support the opinion that universities should publish the average salary of former students, the cost of accommodation, teaching hours and satisfaction ratings from previous students.

Throughout the three years of studying at the University of Nottingham I have been very satisfied with the quality of education supplied.

I was lucky to listen to lectures read by economics professors recognised worldwide and follow up-to-date studying programmes, which I believe are very important when studying such a dynamic subject as economics.

However, I am sure that the University of Nottingham having a top 10 economics school in England ensures a good quality of education in order to sustain its reputation and popularity.

This leads me to the conclusion that more competition among universities means an increase in quality.

This shake-up will probably result in the best universities expanding, while forcing the least productive to decrease their prices or shut down, making students better off and bringing efficiency to the economy as a whole.

It is time for change. I believe students paying £9,000 in fees should have the right to quality education.

Lecturer, David Gibbs, Norwich

Image caption "It will only favour wealthy individuals because only the good public universities will survive"

I am a lecturer at the University of East Anglia. I hold the position of associate tutor in law and think this shake-up is a terrible idea.

Methods for assessing teaching quality have always been unfavourable for teaching staff.

Students rarely understand the demands of teaching or research posts at university or turnaround times for marking, which can be as little as four weeks.

Creating private competition will leave public universities at an unfair advantage due to different regulations and laws. How can they say universities are not competitive?

There are over 100 universities to choose from. It will become like supermarkets in this country where you have no more than six or seven big names.

This is another Tory policy that will only favour wealthy individuals because only the good public universities will survive and private universities will only want the best.

Those students who have not reached their full potential by 18 will be left without any realistic opportunities.

Former student, Chris Matthews, London

The university system needs a kick up the backside and I think these proposals are a very good idea.

I studied at a university in the country's top 20 list. I paid £3,000 in tuition fees per year.

In my first year, lectures, seminars and tutorials combined came to about six or seven hours per week.

In my second year that time went up to about 10 hours per week and it stayed the same in my third year.

I didn't complain at the time about not having enough contact time but I did fill out feedback forms on particular lecturers and classes.

I always expressed my concern on this matter but it never amounted to anything. When you come straight from school you are not necessarily confident enough to voice these concerns formally.

I feel so cheated by the university system. I could have done my whole course in three terms, over one year, but it was stretched out over three because "that's the way it's always been done".

Undergraduate student, Tom Hearing, from Dorchester

Image caption "Law suits and a large number of dubious third class degrees will follow"

I am a first year undergraduate reading earth science at Oxford University and I'm strongly opposed to this universities shake-up.

How can you fail a student who has been paying £9,000 a year for you to teach them?

If you, as an admissions tutor, have properly selected students able to complete the course, then how will students react to being failed? They will simply say "well, you didn't teach me properly."

Universities do not exist for the sole purpose of education; they are prime research facilities.

If, and this is a big if given their current actions, this government wants the UK to remain as a competitive nation in research and development, as well as in the manufacturing and even financial industries then they've got a funny way of showing it.

Law suits and a large number of dubious third class degrees will follow.

This will surely devalue our education system. I foresee a mass migration to Scotland in the next few years - there appears to be a little more sanity there.

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