What the £9,000 fee gets you: less teaching time

 

University lecturers devote less time to teaching now their students are paying £9,000 a year for courses than they did when tuition was free, the universities minister, David Willetts, reveals today.

Figures cited in a new report show that academics spent 55 per cent of their time teaching 50 years ago, a figure which has reached 64 per cent in the past – compared with only 40 per cent now, as they devote more time to research, to bring much-needed grants into the universities.

In a pamphlet for the Social Market Foundation published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the  seminal Robbins report on higher  education, Mr Willetts says the  higher-education system has become “so lopsided away from teaching” that it requires “a real cultural” change.

Mr Willetts warns in the new  study, Robbins Revisited, that “the pendulum has swung too far away from teaching”.

The average time spent by students being taught has also dropped from 14.8 hours a week to 12.2 – with more of the teaching taking place in large rooms with up to 100 students.

Meanwhile, figures released by the consumers’ group Which? show the average student in 1963 had to submit one piece of written work a week – but this has now fallen to one a fortnight. In 1963, the majority (61 per cent) received both written comments and oral feedback. Now, 77 per cent receive only written feedback and a grade.

“Parents talk to their student children about their university timetable and query whether they are getting value for money,” Mr Willetts adds. “‘You really only get three hours of lectures a week? How much time do you spend in the lab? What do you mean, you haven’t sat down with any of the professors yet?’ With the advent of higher fees, such questions are  becoming more insistent.”

Mr Willetts says the Government intends to start discussions with universities about their publishing breakdowns of the amount of teaching, feedback and discussion time.

He also reveals there will be a major increase in the number of young  people eligible to go to university within the next two decades, as the compulsory education or training age rises to 18 and the bulge in the birth rate now hitting primary schools works its way through.

Mr Willetts adds that the UK still lags behind the US in the percentage of people entering higher education, either after leaving school or later – 64 per cent compared with 72 per cent.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software Developer

£18000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Software Developer i...

AER Teachers: Graduate Primary TA - West London - Autumn

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

AER Teachers: Graduate Secondary TA - West London

£65 - £75 per day + competitive rates: AER Teachers: The school is seeking gra...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Surrey - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer - Croy...

SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent