In a recent move, the Higher Education Statistics Agency announced cutting out the Graduate Outcomes survey by phone. This move was seen in a negative light by several stakeholders, calling it 'damaging at a time when UK international sector needs solid outcome data'.
The stakeholders further highlighted the need for reliable data, they stated that recording the experience of the graduates along with the appropriate employability data is crucial.
As a response to the statements, HESA stated that the key reason for the change is the need to cut costs. A spokesperson spoke to the media, stating that the data is still being collected for international graduates, however, the modes used for the purpose have been changed.
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The Pie News reported that HESA had been asked to make a 10% efficiency saving by DfE and BEIS by 2022/23. Moreover, HESA has been in talks with several HE sector bodies with regard to the move.
Currently, HESA aims to collect data via online tools alone, however, several stakeholders have raised concerns over the accessibility of such tools in the remote corners of the world.
Linda Cowan, Senior Vice President for UK and Middle East at Kaplan International Pathways, stated that only by increasing the number of international students responding to graduate outcomes survey will lead UK universities to be globally competitive options.
Cowan continued to point out that the number of international students actually responding to graduate outcomes survey is already small, however, with the changes announced by HESA, the numbers will drop, thus, taking away the value of the data.
Hashing out rather sharp statements, Noeleen Hammond Jones, co-chair at AGCAS Internationalisation Task Group, and international career manager at Lancaster University Management School, stated that the sector had not been consulted on the matter, calling the decision to be looked at again.
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In her argument, Jones revealed that she produced a 14-page impact report, worked on when working at an institution with 19,000 international and EU students on how the absence of such data would affect the entire institution. Further, she inquires about how online provisions would reach graduates living in Mainland China, where the internet is heavily regulated.
While, both Jones and Cowan raised good points, Jo Johnson, former Universities Minister, returned the response by asking the sector to fund HESA and its processes of collecting such relevant data.
Source: The Pie News
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