Government recruits ‘hit squads’ who will check universities are doing face-to-face teaching in a bid to end remote lectures
- Michelle Donelan says universities face spot checks on in-person learning
- The Government hopes to have the scheme up and running by September
- The Universities Minister say she is ‘determined to drive up quality’ in higher education
The Government has started recruiting hit squads to check universities are doing enough face-to-face teaching – with the aim of having teams ready to swoop by the start of the next academic year.
The inspectors will conduct spot checks to ensure in-person teaching has returned to pre-pandemic levels, with the threat of financial penalties for institutions that fail the test.
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan, right, said: ‘I am determined to drive up quality in higher education, from tackling drop-out rates and improving graduate outcomes to ensuring students have face-to-face learning’
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan, right, said: ‘I am determined to drive up quality in higher education, from tackling drop-out rates and improving graduate outcomes to ensuring students have face-to-face learning.
The Office for Students and I will be coming down hard on any providers that are not offering students full face-to-face learning by September.’
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday last month, Ms Donelan threw down the gauntlet to a ‘stubborn minority’ of vice chancellors and lecturers who were still working remotely and pledged to ‘put boots on the ground’ to tackle the issue.
Job adverts have been placed for ‘assessors’ who will be drawn from the ranks of ‘experienced academics’. Applicants are told they must be ‘willing to challenge established norms where these are not delivering a high quality academic experience’.
It is anticipated that each investigator will monitor a campus or department for nine to 11 days before writing a report.
The Government has also advertised for a free speech tsar – on an annual salary of £99,164 – to combat the rise of ‘cancel culture’ on campuses by overseeing new protections to stop academics, students and visiting speakers, being censored.