Politicians advocate greater role in higher education for University of London International Programmes
Gisela Stuart MP recommended that the government give serious consideration to ensuring that the emerging funding and policy framework for higher education allows study for University of London degrees to be widely available to UK students.
Speaking during the adjournment debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday (13 October) Gisela Stuart said there was no doubt that the country needs an ‘open, diverse and accessible’ education system.
In order to see an increase in the number of people benefiting from quality higher education, Gisela Stuart said the three-year campus based University course could no longer be seen as the only route to a degree. Instead, as Lord Browne’s report suggests, we should be moving towards a more flexible and responsive system that meets the needs of our students and the economy.
Gisela Stuart said in future, people will require greater flexibility in accessing quality higher education than traditional universities can offer. “To meet this change in demand, institutions such as the University of London and the Open University must be encouraged to provide more high quality degrees at an affordable price and with the highest possible flexibility for students,” she added.
Gisela Stuart is an alumnus of the University of London International Programmes and a Board member of the University of London International Academy. Speaking of the innovative nature of the University, she said it had been the first University to open its doors to women as well as the first to make its degrees available to students worldwide following the University’s fourth Charter in 1858.
“There is no comparable university offering flexible and worldwide access to degrees of such high international standing and the University’s track record may mean that it is well adapted to the new realities outlined in Lord Browne’s report,” added Gisela Stuart.
She stressed that the University of London International Academy and the Open University should continue to add to the available learning provision in this country, whilst recognising that they cannot, and nor should they, compete with campus based universities.
In response to Gisela Stuart, the Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said he supported a more diverse higher education sector: “Such arrangements will enable us to enhance and reward good quality teaching and allow students from all sorts of backgrounds to benefit from a university education.
“Like externally validated degrees, remote learning through the London international programmes, or the excellent Open University courses, gives people more choice so that they can study at a place and a time that suits, often at home and the honourable Lady gave some good personal examples of that.”
You can read the debate [Hansard online - external link] and/or watch the debate [parliament.uk website]; to watch the debate, fast forward to 21:11:10 by scrolling along the time bar below the video screen.
Notes to editors
The University of London International Programmes :
- The University of London was established in 1836 and is one of the oldest, largest and most diverse universities in the United Kingdom.
- The University’s founding principle is to provide education for all, irrespective of race, creed or political belief.
- In 1858, the University of London was granted its fourth Charter, which paved the way for the establishment of the University of London External System, now known as the University of London International Programmes.
- The University of London International Programmes is a unique global network of 50,000 students on more than 100+ study programme that can be found in nearly every country around the globe.
- The University of London International Programmes, during its time as the External System, has been instrumental in the formation of British higher education – all English and Welsh universities founded between 1849 and 1949 offered University of London degrees before obtaining Royal Charters to award their own degrees.
- Between 1946 and 1970, the External System played a significant role in establishing many Commonwealth universities under a unique scheme of ‘special relations’.
- Through the External System, higher education was made available to a much wider range of social classes; it pre-empted 20th Century developments in open, flexible and distance learning by more than 100 years.
- Famous former students and alumni include seven Nobel Prize Winners: Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, Professor Ronald Coase, Wole Soyinka, Derek Walcott, ex-President Nelson Mandela, joint winner Charles Kao and joint winner Dr Rolph Payet, who has now been appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Seychelles.
For further information contact:
Head of Corporate Affairs and Communication
University of London International Programmes
Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8545
Mobile: +44 (0)7920 476483
Senior Communications Manager
Tel: +44(0)20 7664 5584