Postgraduate Education Report of an independent inquiry by the Higher Education Commission
English HEIs 2010-11 Arts Science All PGR 35,535 52,245 87,780 MPhil 8,185 7,209 15,475 PGT 198,775 107,690 360,575 Integ* 4,050 63,190 67,245 Prof.** 80,175 6,770 87,070 Dips/certs 52,250 27,680 81,850 *integrated masters (4th year UG) **professional masters: MBA, PGCE, regulated PG ‘other’ omitted
Recommendations • HEFCE should collect data on fees, socio-economic make up of students, employment outcomes • UK Commission for Employment and Skills should work with HEFCE and RCUK on employer needs • Immigration regulations should be improved • Universities should investigate whether they have enough information on access/participation across areas and if they know enough about part time study • Industry, government and universities should increase investment in research and development • Funders should reflect on whether they fund enough studentships to replenish the research base in disciplines • Immediate task force to investigate a PG loans scheme • RCUK, HEFCE and Universities UK should have a working group to consider research quality and the PhD system
As Graham Spittle (Inquiry chair) put it: • Post graduate needs to be part of a whole system approach • There is a need to improve access to PG study • International PGstudents trained here could be encouraged to stay here, even for short periods if the visa system was more sensible • Finance: how is PG to be funded ? Is there a ‘perfect storm’ ? (higher fees, no credit, debt, immigration issues) • The report should not be ‘shelf-ware’ but something should be done.
Political response • David Willetts: • There has been less attention to PG and more to UG • There is a wide range of PG qualifications so its complex • Access is an issue • The worries about the HE reforms in the report may be overdone – the UG changes are about a flow of payment not debt and not automatically bad for PG • On funding: be very careful about the treasury. If you create a treasury interest then there will be no open ended system for PG. Who, how many, how resourced, will all become issues for treasury scrutiny. • ShabanaMahmood, Labour • PG needs to be tackled • Visas are a problem and need to be sorted out • Widening participation is a problem in PG which should be addressed