HC Deb 17 March 1986 vol 94 cc1-3W
Mr. Norris

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether the Government have reached a decision on the recommendations of the Lindop report on academic validation of public sector higher education; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Keith Joseph

When the report of the Lindop committee of inquiry was published in April 1985 the Government invited comments on its recommendations. The Government have now considered these recommendations in the light of comments received and have reached the following main conclusions.

The Government share the committee's view that the most effective safeguard of an institution's academic

Agency Project Outcome
Population Services Pilot project to promote family planning among the lower income workers and rural workers in Leon, Mexico Accepted
Population Services Integrated mother and child health and information education and training programme for Association of Women's Clubs in Zimbabwe Refused—the design of the project was considered to be inappropriate to the family planning needs of Zimbabwe
Population Services Youth fertility education programme, Sierra Leone Accepted
Population Concern Expansion of family planning services to the Terai region and Banke district of Nepal Refused—the design of the project was considered to be inappropriate to the family planning needs of Nepal
Population Concern Family welfare workers, training programme, Karachi, Pakistan Under consideration—the grant has been sought for financial year 1986–87
Population Concern Outreach family planning services, Kenya Under consideration—the grant has been sought for financial year 1986–87

standards is the existence within it of a strong, cohesive and self-critical academic community. In future, the main purpose of external validating arrangements must be to foster the development of such communities.

The Government are not persuaded at present that to achieve their main purpose of maintaining and improving standards, certain polytechnics or colleges need to be granted full autonomy in validation with powers to award their own degrees, as the committee proposed in its option 3. Instead, the Government welcome the changes that the Council for National Academic Awards is now making in response to the work of the Lindop committee—along the lines of the committee's option 1. Institutions will be able to seek substantially greater responsibility for validation and review of their courses and, subject to amendment of the CNAA's charter, authority in certain cases to award degrees in their own names. The Government also welcome parallel proposals in respect of external validation by universities. The Government will watch how these developments progress before coming to a final decision on option 3.

Existing arrangements for validation have, rightly, been criticised for their bureaucracy and excessive reliance on course documentation and for insufficient attention to course delivery and outcomes. The Government welcome the CNAA's commitment to the simplification of its procedures and look to the council to modify its approach generally to meet such criticisms. They also expect institutions to co-operate fully in the adoption of a new approach to validation. Progress in this area on the part of both CNAA and institutions will bear on the Government's final decision on option 3. The Government do not anticipate that the new arrangements will on balance increase local authority expenditure and they could indeed permit some reduction.

A copy of a paper setting out in greater detail the Government's response to the Lindop report has today been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applications were received in 1984 and 1985, respectively, from United Kingdom non-governmental organisations for 100 per cent. project support through the joint funding scheme for population and family planning projects; if he will specify each application received from each organisation showing if the application was refused; and if he will set out the reasons for refusal in each case.

Mr. Raison

The following applications were received in 1985 (none were received in 1984):

In addition a further four projects were funded in 1984 and 1985 although the applications for the grants were received in previous years.