Full circle

Smita Jamdar

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the day the Further & Higher Education Act received Royal Assent. As well as incorporating FE Colleges, the Act gave the Privy Council the power to grant degree-awarding powers (DAPs) to higher education institutions. Prior to the Act degrees were only awarded by chartered universities and the Council for National Academic Awards (the CNAA). The CNAA was abolished by the Act, and the Hansard debates from around that time make it clear that institutions registered with the CNAA who were not eligible for their own DAPs would need to enter into validation agreements to ensure their students could complete their programmes of study.

Fast forward twenty years. Validation agreements are under significant scrutiny in terms of the potential risks they pose to quality and the concern that some have seen validation primarily as a money-making activity.  The Government has also mooted a reincarnation of the (not-for-profit) CNAA by separating teaching from DAPS and awarding them to multi-national for-profit companies, who will, however we try to dress it up, be licensing those powers to others as a money-making activity.  One of the CNAA’s aims was to ensure comparability between degrees awarded by different providers, a role now discharged by the QAA. Policies which promote more validation and DAPs for organisations who don’t themselves teach will make that an ever more challenging exercise.

Smita Jamdar
Partner and Head of Education
For and on behalf of SGH Martineau LLP
DD: 0800 763 1332
M:  07909 925946
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E: smita.jamdar@sghmartineau.com
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From → General Interest

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