HC Deb 13 May 2002 vol 385 cc485-6W
Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent improvements the Government have made to buildings and teaching facilities in higher education. [53629]

Margaret Hodge

In 1999–2000 the Government made available £35 million in England for higher education capital funding. In the succeeding years, the amounts made available were £50 million, £100 million, £145 million. and in 2003–04 £194 million, to support the teaching infrastructure, modernise and improve the estates and build new medical schools. Of this, £56 million over two years to 2003–04 is to help institutions meet the cost of the statutory changes relating to the access parts of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001.

To this, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) adds funding which it finds from its own resources to promote capital investment, often with contributions from others. For example, between 1998–99 and 2002–03 the HEFCE Poor Estates Initiative has invested £291 million in the sector, supporting 149 projects at 80 institutions with a total value of £950 million.

Alongside this, the Government, in partnership with the Welcome Trust, have plans to invest some £1.75 billion in research infrastructure in universities and elsewhere over the four years to 2003–04.

Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much more investment has been put into higher education in the current spending review than in the previous year. [53630]

Margaret Hodge

Since 1998, the total additional funding for institutions is £1.7 billion, an increase of 37 per cent. in cash terms or 18 per cent. in real terms over the six years to 2003–04. Publicly planned funding for higher education in England in 2001–02 is £.396 million more than in 2000–01, so that for the first time in over a decade funding per student will rise in real terms, and further expansion of student places will be fully funded in the following two years. In addition the sector will benefit from £1 billion joint Welcome Trust and Government investment in research and technology infrastructure between 2002 and 2004, plus further funding of £250 million over the three years to 2003–04 through the Office of Science and Technology for priority research in areas such as e-science and genomics.

Alistair Burt

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her Department's definition is of higher education in the context of her Department's target for 50 per cent. of all 18 to 30-year-olds to experience higher education by 2010; and if she will make a statement. [55060]

Margaret Hodge

The Government are committed to increasing and widening participation in higher education so that more young people benefit from the opportunities that higher education brings in terms of employability, earnings and quality of life. At the same time, we want to ensure that we meet the UK's needs for a highly skilled, competitive work force.

We measure participation in higher education by means of the Initial Entry Rate (IER). The IER includes all courses of one year or more, above A-level and its equivalents, which lead to a qualification awarded by higher education institutions or widely recognised national awarding bodies (eg. the Institute of Management).

We are also currently seeking advice from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority regarding a very small number of professional qualifications of less than one year's duration, for example in nursing, law, business and management. The QCA will advise us whether the nature and content of these qualifications could appropriately be classified as being of higher education standard.

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