A New Model for Higher Education?

04 Nov 2016

Statistics show that there are currently only five private universities (the charitable University of Buckingham and Regent's University London, and the for-profit institutions The University of Law, BPP University and Arden University) where the government does not subsidise the tuition fees.

Today, in an announcement that promises a new model for higher education, Sir James Dyson has announced that he is to set up his own Dyson Institute of Technology to train engineers, the lack of which he has long complained about to the UK Government.

The institution will be funded with £15 million from Dyson and will be based at Dyson's campus in Wiltshire. Initially, it will offer a four-year engineering degree in partnership with the University of Warwick. But the longer term plans are much more interesting.

The goal is for the institution to become a 'Dyson University', with its own degree-awarding powers.

Achieving Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) is a high-accolade that many institutions aspire to, but which few achieve. It is a long, involved and testing process, because naturally, the government wants to make sure that only the very best educational establishments are able to demonstrate the high-standards required to award their own degrees. 

So it remains to be seen how the future will play out for the endeavour.

The 'interesting' part in terms of general higher education news however, is that the plan is that not only will students not have to pay any tuition fees, they will also earn a salary while they are studying.

This is an interesting model that potentially points the way to closer integration between businesses and students, and a longer term focus and investment in their future, even before they start work.

To some extent this model happens already with military employers, for example, the army has a number of schemes:

http://www.army.mod.uk/training_education/25683.aspx

But it could be that having a new, well-funded, private participant in the higher education market that is pushing this model, could have far-reaching consequences for many types of courses that have a clear, marketable career path, but which are currently mainly self-funded.


Learn more on the BBC website here or the Daily Mail website here.

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