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

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Executive / Digital Account Executive

£20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Digital Account Exec ...

Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before