Royal Holloway to validate new Pearson degree

Education giant Pearson has signed a partnership with Royal Holloway, University of London which will see the college validating the company’s new business degree.

The new programme will be studied from September 2012, with business expected to be followed by degrees in other subjects.

As the validating university Royal Holloway will ensure the academic quality, while Pearson will undertake the design, development and delivery through further education colleges and other providers.

The development is in line with the stated aim of David Willetts, the universities and science minister, to encourage new players in UK higher education.

Speaking last week after the publication of the higher education White Paper, Mr Willetts said he wanted to make it easier for teaching universities to use other organisations' degrees.

“We shouldn't have a quality regime and a regulatory regime that just assume that degree-awarding powers and teaching go together,” Mr Willetts said.

Rob Kemp, deputy principal of Royal Holloway, said: “Our founders, in opening colleges for women in the 19th century, were the first to address the challenge of widening access and we are delighted to continue this tradition by supporting Pearson in this initiative.”

Rod Bristow, president of Pearson UK, said the company had “a long heritage of working in higher education around the world and we’re really looking forward to bringing this expertise to UK degrees”.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, raised concerns that private providers would focus on the courses that brought in the most money.

“Private companies are looking to make the best returns they can and we fear that approach will lead to an incremental narrowing of the curriculum and some students doing inappropriate courses at a greater cost,” she said.

john.gill@tsleducation.com

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