HEFCE Consultation, UCML pledges to fight for recognition of work placements outside Erasmus
UCML responds to the HEFCE consultation on the way in which it funds learning and teaching and manage student numbers in higher education (HE). These changes follow the Government's policy to fund learning and teaching through increased tuition fees while reducing the annual funding that HEFCE allocates.
UCML believes that competition in vulnerable subjects like languages may lead to excessive and undesirable concentration of provision, with consequent loss of student choice.
UCML welcomes this funding support for postgraduate provision and evidence-gathering, but looks forward to a more permanent solution to taught postgraduate funding, given the unavailability of fee loans and the likelihood that any bank loans will be extremely selective.
UCML regrets that the new-regime funding arrangements for the Year abroad are not to apply to students undertaking work placements outside Erasmus. Challenging unpaid placements in developing countries in West Africa or Latin America deserve the same level of support, and UCML will campaign for such placements, representing at most a few hundred each year, to access the same funding.
In UCML's view, languages continue to be both strategically important and vulnerable, and have shown in the past a capacity to work effectively together across institutions. UCML believes the time is ripe to explore current possibilities for innovative and flexible provision.
The UK is losing international influence for lack of qualified translators and interpreters who are native speakers of English, but specialist training provision requires expensive resources and intensive teaching, which individual HEIs may not be able to sustain. In German, despite its status as the most important foreign language for UK exports, there is continued threat to the sustainability of German courses (including intensive beginners' courses).