UK: University Leaders Support Flexible Learning Reforms

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News May 05, 2022

London, England, UK

University leaders in the United Kingdom are supporting reforms in England that would allow individuals to learn and teach new skills and retrain through flexible forms of study, according to the Universities UK (UUK), representing 140 universities in the United Kingdom.

In its response to the UK government’s consultation about “plans for a lifelong loan entitlement (LLE) from 2025 – equivalent to four years of post-18 education in a lifetime,” UUK said that with the reforms, more opportunities for learners would be offered as well as UK’s needs regarding skills would be fulfilled.

University leaders expressed commitment to redesign courses, improve well-being support for flexible learners as well to offer better advice on careers so the latter can see the impact that upskilling has on their career progress, Erudera reports.

UUK added that the reforms must appeal to all potential learners and allow wide course eligibility reflecting UK’s diverse future skills needs and the current gap. In addition, in its response, the network mentioned the importance of providing high-quality information and advice on career development.

President of UUK, Steve West, said that the organization has long advocated for adults of every age to have the chance to access high-quality and flexible education.

“Universities are willing to pilot, innovate and collaborate with employers, colleges, and government so flexible learning delivers the biggest benefits to society and individuals. For this new system of learning to succeed, it must be easy for learners to understand and use and avoid unnecessary bureaucracy for all involved,” West said.  

Senior Public Policy Researcher, ResPublica, and policy lead, Lifelong Education Commission, Marius S. Ostrowski, said that the future of the UK’s tertiary education is associated to greater integration with close partnerships between further and higher education institutions.

“Rethinking course design and course eligibility opens the door to even greater diversification in the post-18 education sector. They are the first step to devising innovative new models — such as the “multiversity” — that can offer learners at all ages and stages of life new and different pathways to develop their abilities, Ostrowski added.

Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, Malcolm Press, who is also leading advisory group on lifelong learning, said that lifelong learning can create a line of talents that would boost productivity, innovation, and growth in the United Kingdom.

He pointed out that reforms like this are crucial for the “success of the government’s leveling up ambitions,” adding that universities are willing to work closely with colleges and the sector on redesigning courses so flexible learning kicks of in UK.

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