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Jo Johnson Proposes Student-university Contracts

Posted by Richard Ward in , , ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

University Minister Jo Johnson, has indicated that students are to have formal contracts with universities so they can challenge them over too few teaching hours or if facilities on offer are inadequate.

According to Mr Johnson, there are growing concerns among students about receiving value for money.

Commenting on the proposals, the Russell Group of leading universities played down the concept and suggested it could have "unintended consequences" and that no one would want to see standards being undermined by the risk of legal action.

Labour suggested the idea of offering students a contract was simply a "smokescreen" to cover for the unpopular decision to allow universities to increase their fees.

Mr Johnson indicated the newly created Office for Students, would investigate how contracts for all students could be introduced, which will help to provide a way of contesting the quality of their courses.

It's thought the contract between students and their university would cover areas such as contact time, resources and assessments.

Commenting on the plans, Jo Johnson, said: "Although contracts do exist in various forms in some institutions, most of them do not provide enough detail to be useful."

He went on to add that, providing students with more contractual certainty would help towards addressing the issue of dissatisfaction over seemingly poor-value courses.

Finally, Mr Johnson noted: "When students and taxpayers invest so heavily in our higher education system, value for money should be guaranteed. Yet, I am still hearing students say that their course is poor quality.

"This is not good enough, especially when some vice-chancellors take home a wage that in some cases exceeds that of the prime minister."