House of Lord’s report says “Accreditation is a useful medium through which to engage industry”
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report on Higher Education Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects released today, highlighted Degree Accreditation by the Society of Biology, alongside several other key recommendations.
The report stresses the important role STEM graduates play in economic growth by driving innovation, undertaking research and providing entrepreneurship. The Committee identify a potential compound effect of the higher education reforms producing a “triple whammy” effect due to higher fees, a lack of student finance, and a decline in the number of overseas students. The Lords say this will lead to UK universities losing funding that subsidises other areas and a weakening of the quality and number of the Masters courses on offer.
Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology, who gave evidence to the committee in December said, “An adequate supply of STEM graduates is critical for the economic, health and social well-being of the UK but quality is as important as quantity. For far too long broad definitions of STEM, coupled with courses which do not supply enough employment-ready university and college graduates have masked the serious decline in STEM skills across the country. We welcome this House of Lords report, the focus on independent accreditation of courses by professional bodies, the push for greater maths skills at all levels and the urgent need to welcome more foreign students, removing negative messages about immigration controls.”
Professional body led accreditation of Degrees was seen as central to bridging the gap between industry and Higher Education Institutions. Highlighting the Society’s Accreditation programme, the report noted that “accreditation of courses by professional bodies would be a sensible way forward…we further recommend that the government should provide support for such activities in the early stages of development until they are fully established”.
The full report is available here.