The report from Universities UK, the representative body for Higher Education, applauded the “robust arrangements for assuring quality and securing standards” provided by the self-regulation within the sector, rejecting the need for more scrutiny.
In July, The Guardian claimed academics were being told to inflate marks in order to improve institutions’ rankings in league tables. Whistleblowers from within Universities spoke of “soft marking” and “falling academic standards”. As a direct result of this report, MPs are about to begin an investigation into standards within Higher Education.
In reaction to this inquiry and the media interest surrounding it, Universities UK have released a detailed leaflet explaining the various provisions in place to maintain “the highest academic quality and standards”.
The report claims Higher Education in the UK is “widely admired internationally” and that the vast array of tools and systems in place mean the sector does not need external regulation.
MPs have cast doubt on the effectiveness of the Quality Assurance Agency, the watchdog for Higher Education, asking whether the organisation can effectively monitor such a diverse system.
Universities UK have responded by saying that the current system of internal university processes, subject benchmarks, a sector-wide code of practice, the QAA, and “effective engagement” with students is by far sufficient, and that there is currently no “cause for concern”.