Step in the right direction

27th August 2004 at 01:00
We have followed with much interest the recent media attention to the Government's plans for a register of learning providers as one of the measures for tackling abuse of the overseas student visa system.

The Association of Colleges, English UK and the British Accreditation Council fully welcome proposals for a register that would genuinely stem the potential for abuse. However we fear that these plans may not go far enough.

The issue is much wider than just English language schools. A walk along London's Oxford Street shows that it is false to distinguish between colleges and schools targeting the overseas student market for English and those purporting to offer business studies, computing, commerce, accountancy.

The proposals do not ensure that providers will be subject to some assessment of quality from the outset. The AoC, English UK and BAC are therefore working together to try to ensure that all private providers are covered by a robust registration scheme that will build on existing accreditation schemes and ensure the UK's reputation for quality education is not (further) damaged by unscrupulous schools and colleges.

Jo Clough Association of Colleges Tony Millns English UK Caroline Bucklow British Accreditation Council

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