Israeli demands

The future of Derby University's lucrative franchise operation in Israel - and indeed its international academic reputation - hang in the balance.

By the end of next month, an audit of Derby's franchise with Tel Aviv's private Inter College by the Quality Assurance Agency, prompted by allegations of mismanagement, will be complete. But perhaps more crucially for Derby, by the end of November this year, the Israeli Higher Education Council will have decided whether or not to grant Derby a licence to offer higher education in Israel.

Tough new laws designed to clamp down on overseas "cowboy" profit-making operations in Israel, introduced last year, mean that overseas providers must conform to strict quality control rules. When Derby's operations came under scrutiny, the authorities found several anomalies and denied Derby its licence.

Crisis talks late last year led the HEC to grant Derby a temporary reprieve, offering it a short-term licence until November 30. "The licence is conditional, as the extension must prove that it fully implements all the conditions set in the law, as well as those obligations that the extension as well as Derby University committed themselves to," the HEC said. Derby must show that teaching contact hours at Inter College are identical to those in Derby, and that the extension will "bring more lecturers from the parent institution".

Phil Baty

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