Minister Jo Johnson Calls Upon Universities to Switch Focus

Posted by Ross Jones-Morris in

Universities Minister Jo Johnson has criticised UK universities for focusing too much on research, allowing teaching to become its 'poor cousin'.

Whilst speaking at the UK Universities annual conference in Guildford, Mr Johnson said that many universities have lost sight of their teaching responsibilities, as they view 'scholarly output' as the main indicator of reputation and ranking in international league tables. He went on to say that "Teaching has regrettably been allowed to become something of a poor cousin to research in parts of our system."

"I hear this when I talk to worried parents, such as the physics teacher whose son dropped out at the start of year two of a humanities programme at a prestigious London university, having barely set eyes on his tutor.

"Her other son, by contrast, studying engineering at Bristol, saw the system at its best: he was worked off his feet, with plenty of support and mostly excellent teaching.

"This patchiness in the student experience within and between institutions cannot continue. There is extraordinary teaching that deserves greater recognition. And there is lamentable teaching that must be driven out of our system."

With the relatively recent hike in student tuition fees, the minister is calling upon universities to make sure the extra money is ploughed into the teaching system. This follows on from his announcement in July that he would be developing a new 'teaching excellence framework' that will allow students to make an informed decision about the standards and methods of teaching they will receive at candidate universities.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons.