University College, Buckingham

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd March 1983.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Phillip Whitehead Mr Phillip Whitehead , Derby North 12:00 am, 22nd March 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consultations he had before chartered status was given to the University College of Buckingham.

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

In advising the Privy Council I had before me written memoranda from the Association of University Teachers, the Central Council for Non-Teaching Staffs in Universities, the Council for National Academic Awards and the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals.

Photo of Mr Phillip Whitehead Mr Phillip Whitehead , Derby North

Is it not a fact that that proposterous institution is now a university only because it is so styled in the charter that has been awarded to it by the Secretary of State? Will he confirm that the CNAA declined to validate the honours degree at Buckingham nine years ago and that the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals would have recommended—had the right hon. Gentleman chosen to consult it—that there should be an independent academic assessment? Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that many of us see this issue as a shabby political pay-off of the worst possible kind, and an insult to reputable academic institutions in this country?

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

The college became a university by the same process as other modern colleges have become universities over the years. It is true that nine years ago the CNAA refused to validate a particular course, but the professional bodies served by the students gave professional qualifications to graduates of Buckingham college. This institution shows what can be done outside the state sector. It is an admirable example of combining relatively short degree courses with high standards and research. There is much for the public sector to learn from that university.

Photo of Mr Timothy Brinton Mr Timothy Brinton , Gravesend

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the University College of Buckingham is an excellent institution of higher education and that this country needs more—not fewer—such establishments?

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

I agree with my hon. Friend. The fact that the university started from a relatively small base makes it the same as other places that are now accepted as perfectly normal universities.

Photo of Mr Chris Price Mr Chris Price , Lewisham West

Just to prove that it is not a shabby political pay-off, will the Secretary of State consider granting a charter to Goldsmiths' college in the borough of Lewisham, which is to lose its London university status, or would the Left-wing leanings of Mr. Richard Hoggart, its principal, act in some way against that, just as they did when he was on the Arts Council?

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

The hon. Gentleman is free with his allegations in the House. I would hope to bring the same standards to bear on any proposal for university status that came before me.