The National Postgraduate Committee (NPC) has been campaigning for a number of years against the medieval University Visitorial Jurisdiction that should have been reformed decades ago. This has been particularly concerning to NPC due to the majority of cases reaching the Visitor are those of postgraduate research students. In recent days NPC has seen a sign of hope as the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) has begun its work and also the possibility of removing Visitorial Jurisdiction is in the non controversial parts of the higher education bill.
Despite these efforts, however, NPC is horrified that still some Universities have the audacity to claim that the Visitorial system is still sufficient for their needs. Dr Tim Brown, NPC General Secretary asks "Have they not read the papers? Research student cases are taking years rather than months to resolve, and then in recent days it has been highly questioned as to whether the system opposes the Human Rights Act 1998. How can anybody consider the amateur knowledge of the Visitor to challenge the professional expertise of the OIA? Clearly the case for the Visitor is flawed." NPC asks Universities still with a Visitor to leap into the 21st Century, where such an archaic system cannot carry on.
With the controversy of the Higher Education Bill, NPC is angered that legislation to remove Visitorial Jurisdiction has been placed within one single bill that has such a controversy around it. Dr Brown says "It is frustrating that a completely separate issue of tuition fees is delaying this process, and that yet more research students have to face the trauma of the Visitor, when they need not do." Despite the good news for postgraduates within the Higher Education Bill, NPC will still not support the bill as a whole with the proposals for tuition fees still present, due to the adverse effect it will have on the supply of postgraduates.
Notes for Editors:
- The National Postgraduate Committee (NPC) is a charity to advance, in the public interest, postgraduate education in the UK run by postgraduates for postgraduates.
- NPC has long standing policy against the University Visitor system almost since it was formally constituted in 1992.
- For further information, please email the General Secretary, Tim Brown on firstname.lastname@example.org.