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Higher Education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Online Desk | February 27, 2013
Higher Education in England

Higher Education in England

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland , higher education institutions are independent, se lf-governing bodies active in teaching, research and scholarship. They are established by Royal Charter or legislation and most are part-funded by government. Higher education (HE) is provided by many different types of institution. In addition to universities and university colleges, whose charters and statutes are made through the Privy Council which advises the Queen on the granting of Royal Charters and incorporation of universities, there are a number of publicly-designated and autonomous institutio ns within the higher education sector. Publicly funded higher education provision is available in some colleges of further education by the authority of another duly empowered institution. Teaching to prepare students for the award of higher education qual ifications can be conducted in any higher education institution and in some further education colleges.

Degree awarding powers and the title 'university'

All universities and many higher education colleges have the legal power to develop their own courses and award their own degrees, as well as determine the conditions on which they are awarded. Some HE colleges and specialist in stitutions without these powers offer programmes, with varying extents of devolved authority, leading to the degrees of an institution which does have them. All universities in existence before 2005 have the power to award degrees on the basis of comple tion of taught courses and the power to award research degree s. From 2005, institutions in England and Wales that award only taught degrees ('first' and 'second cycle') and which meet certain numerical criteria, may also be permitted to use the title 'university'. Higher education institutions that award only ta ught degrees but which do not meet the numerical criteria may apply to use the title 'university college', although not all choose to do so. All of these instituti ons are subject to the same regulatory quality assurance and funding requirements as universities; and all institutions decide for themselv es which students to admit and which staff to appoint. Degrees and other higher educati on qualifications are legally owned by the awarding institut ion, not by the state. Admission The most common qualification for entry to higher education is the General Certificate of Education at 'Advanced' (A) level. Other appropriate NQF level 3 qualifications and the kite-marked Access to HE Diploma may also provide entry to HE. Level 3 qualifications in the CQFW, including the Wels h Baccalaureate, also provide entry, as do Scottish Highers, Adv anced Highers or qualifications at the same levels of the Scotti sh Credit and Qualifications Framework. Part-time and mature students may enter HE with these qualifications or alternatives with evidenced equivalent prior formal and/or experiential learning . Institutions will admit students whom they believe to have the potential to complete their programmes successfully.

Qualifications

The types of qualifications awarded by higher education institutions at sub-degree and undergraduate (first cycle) and postgraduate level (second and third cycles) are described in the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ). This also includes qualification descriptors that were developed with the HE sect or by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA - established in 1997 as an independent UK-wide body to m onitor the standard of higher education provision - www.qaa.ac.uk ). The FHEQ was self-certified as compatible with the Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area, the qualifications framework adopted as part of the Bolog na Process, in February 2009. Foundation degrees, designed to create intermediate awards strongly oriented towards specific employment opportunities, were introduced in 2001. In terms of the European Higher Education Area they are "short cycle" qualifications within the first cycle. The FHEQ is one component of t he Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW). The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), the De partment for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, Wales (DCELLS) and the Council for Curriculum Examination and Assessment, Northern Ireland (CCEA) have established the Qualificat ions and Credit Framework (to replace, in time, the National Qualifications Framework (NQF)). These authorities regulate a number of professional, statutory and other awarding bodies which contro l VET and general qualifications at all levels. The QCF is also inco rporated into the CQFW. There is a close association between the le vels of the FHEQ and the NQF (as shown overleaf), and other frameworks of the UK and Ireland.

Quality Assurance

Academic standards are established and maintained by higher education institutions themselves using an extensive and sophisticated range of shared quality assurance approaches and structures. Standards and quality in institutions are underpinned by the universal use of external examiners, a standard set of indicators and other reports, by the activities of the QAA, and in professional areas by relevant professional, statutory and regulatory bodies. This ensures that institutions meet national expectations described in the FHEQ: subject benchmark statements, the Code of Practice and programme specifications. QAA conducts peer-review based audits and reviews of higher education institutions with the oppor tunity for subject-based review as the need arises. The accuracy and adequacy of quality-related information published by the higher education institutions is also reviewed. QAA also reviews publicly funded higher education provision in further education colleges.

Credit Systems

Most higher education institutions in England and Northern Ireland belong to one of several credit consortia and some operate local credit accumulation and transfer systems for students moving between programmes and/or institut ions. A framework of national guidelines, the Higher Education Credit Framework for England, was launched in 2008. Credit is also an integral part of the CQFW and the QCF. It may be possible for credit awarded in one framework to be recognised by education providers whose qualifications sit within a different framework. HE credit systems in use in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are compatible with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) for accumulation and transfers within the European Higher Education Area, and are used to recognise learning gained by stude nts in institutions elsewhere in Europe.

Admission

The most common qualification for entry to higher education is the General Certificate of Education at 'Advanced' (A) level. Other appropriate NQF level 3 qualifications and the kite-marked Access to HE Diploma may also provide entry to HE. Level 3 qualifications in the CQFW, including the Welsh Baccalaureate, also provide entry, as do Scottish Highers, Advanced Highers or qualifications at the same levels of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework. Part-time and mature students may enter HE with these qualifications or alternatives with evidenced equivalent prior formal and/or experiential learning . Institutions will admit students whom they believe to have the potential to complete their programmes successfully শিক্ষা সংক্রান্ত খবরাখবর নিয়মিত পেতে রেজিস্ট্রেশন করুন অথবা Log In করুন।

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