Friday, 27 July 2012

More confusion about Degree Awarding Powers

The news in the BBC and Times Higher that Regent's College has been granted degree awarding powers will come as a surprise to nobody likely to be reading a blog like this one. What came as a very severe shock to me, though, was this language in the BBC report:

'It [i.e. Regent's] is one of two private colleges being given degree-awarding powers this week....The identity of the second college has not yet been made public, with government officials saying it is up to that institution to make its announcement.'

There is nothing like this mentioned in the Higher story, so I very much hope it is a BBC reporter's misunderstanding (The Royal Academy of Music has recently been awarded DAPs, and as far as I can see from their website hasn't made a public announcement, but the RAM is certainly not a private college). BIS maintain a list of bodies with Degree Awarding Powers here. If it is really true that BIS is allowing private colleges with degree awarding powers to stay off this list until they wish to publicise their new powers, that would strike me as a very surprising thing indeed. It would call into question the Government's commitment to a 'level playing field' between public and private providers, not to say basic standards of openness in public administration.

I tried to speak to someone at BIS to gain clarification, but when she discovered I wasn't a journalist, the operator refused to put me through so I've had to fire off an email. When I get a response, I'll post an update.

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