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INTO virus spreads to Gloucestershire University
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:27 pm    Post subject: INTO virus spreads to Gloucestershire University Reply with quote

It's amazing that another university would want to get involved with INTO University Partnerships, but Gloucestershire University has already committed itself it seems. What I can't understand is why this deal would go ahead when 97% of staff at the institution were against it. Surely shady deals like this done between bosses at INTO and Gloucestershire explode the myth that British universities are democratic institutions where the majority vote wins.

Here is the story from the BBC website:

Gloucestershire university foreign student plan criticised

Plans to use a private firm to recruit and teach foreign university students in Gloucestershire have been slammed.

A union said that a University of Gloucestershire partnership with INTO would be "too risky" and "unnecessary".

It is concerned that the firm is to take full control of teaching foreign students on English language courses and other courses up to degree level.

The university dismissed privatisation claims and said it was about "securing a thriving future" for itself.

'Motivated by profit'

It added that the discussions taking place with INTO were a "good opportunity" and had been approved in principle by the University Council.

However the University and College Union (UCU) said it was not the right time to risk pumping "as much as 10m" into the partnership.

It also claimed eight members of staff are under threat of being transferred to INTO employment, and 97% of UCU members on site (some 229 staff) were opposed to the partnership.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: "Staff at the University of Gloucestershire do not believe that a private company, which is motivated by profit, is an appropriate organisation to run local education.

"UCU is campaigning hard against the privatisation of higher education.

The university is now in sound financial health and we are not prepared to watch it risk its reputation and future financial health by signing capital and revenue over to what is in effect a private sector property developer."

'Track record'

The company INTO offers a network of university-based study centres for international students.

It has bases at such institutions as the University of East Anglia, City University London, the University of Exeter and Newcastle University.

A statement from the University of Gloucestershire in response to the union's claims said that discussions with INTO reflected its objectives to take opportunities to grow and strengthen international partnerships.

It said: "Contrary to the claims made by the national UCU, this is not about 'privatisation' of higher education.

"It is about forming a joint venture with a company which has a successful track record in international student recruitment, as one way of securing a thriving future for our university and all those who work here."

It also said that it was keeping university staff and unions briefed as the discussions progress.

A spokesman for INTO said the company had nothing further to add.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-20265024
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 773
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The ship is sinking.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perilla wrote:
The ship is sinking.


INTO University Partnerships is like a big cat looking for weak prey on the African savannah. Gloucestershire University has been in lots of financial trouble recently. Its cost-cutting measures include selling off half its campus to property developers. When a university is at its weakest, it's time for INTO to strike. Where will it end?

Of course the government is complicit in this unfortunate scenario because they have deregulated the education sector and even "plan to allow universities to go bankrupt . . . as part of a major package of higher education reforms." As far back as 2010, Ministers were talking about letting 3 universities that had previously been polytechnics go under. Those schools were: London Metropolitan University, the University of Cumbria and, yes, you've guessed it, the University of Gloucestershire.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/8024738/Universities-could-go-bust-in-plan-for-more-competition.html

May be it won't be a bad thing for all 3 universities to disappear altogether as all of them have been involved in scandals. The scandals at London Met are well-known and ongoing, but I'm not sure if folks here know that back in 2010, the Church of England suspended the boss of Cumbria University for having an affair with his secretary. Nothing Venerable in that.

http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk/news/church-of-england-suspends-cumbria-university-boss-over-relationship-with-secretary-1.751409?referrerPath=news
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 11701
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too many unis. Not enough studnets in the domestic market. What do you think is going to happen ? Exactly what you are seein here with INTO.

Expect more shenaanigans here and in other institutions.


Last edited by scot47 on Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
Expect more shenaanigans here . . .


Although INTO may fall short when it comes to academic rigour, its media machine certainly makes up for it when it comes to selling their brand. Seems they've conscripted their poor old students into jumping about in the rain to Psy's Gangnam Style:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8l6-meiU_is

Might not be education, but "the event has already generated over 80,000 hits on YouTube while INTOTV has over half a million views!" Wow! May be these students are working towards a degree in Korean Cultural Studies?

http://www.into-corporate.com/en-gb/news/into-this-week/115.aspx
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Captain Coddo



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 22
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A very appropriate description: "INTO University Partnerships is like a big cat looking for weak prey on the African savannah."

Unfortunately INTO considers its own staff to be 'weak prey'. It refuses to recognise established lecturers' unions (ATL, UCU), and in their absence, forces its teaching staff to accept third-world sick-pay systems. Many Into teaching staff do not get any sick pay at all, as the system is 'discretionary' - i.e., you only get paid for time off if they feel like it.

This is in sharp distinction to the universities it also preys on - sorry, works in association with - where teaching staff get proper provision for illness. This could be from 3 weeks a year guaranteed on full pay, to six months, depending on the level of service. At Into, service matters not a bit - everybody gets shat on!

Oh, I mean everybody but the senior bigwigs - that's what they mean by 'discretionary'!
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Coddo wrote:
At Into, service matters not a bit - everybody gets shat on!


I'm amazed that this sweat shop called INTO has been able to keep a lid on staff dissent. Obviously without a union to represent them, employees are on their own. Nevertheless, you can only kick a person so many times before they turn, so INTO are walking a very fine line. The poet Yeats knew that when he wrote in The Second Coming: "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . . " Prescient words indeed.
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Captain Coddo



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My contact at the London Into tells me that at least half a dozen Ts have deserted the overcrowded Into staffroom since the beginning of term, with many more expected to do so soon.

Staff turnover is clearly high there, as Ts are voting with their feet and finding better places to work, where their services are appreciated more.

Of course, whether the Into management are interested in stemming the flow of Ts or just pumping in new ones to fill the increasing numbers of gaps is a point for consideration. But perhaps not for TOO long!
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Coddo wrote:
Staff turnover is clearly high there, as Ts are voting with their feet and finding better places to work, where their services are appreciated more.


When for-profit companies like INTO University Partnerships negotiate a joint-venture with a university, English language teachers need to reapply for their own jobs with the new employer. These new contracts are inferior right across the board. According to a UCU report entitled 'International students and pathway provision: The case against the private sector', companies like INTO get their profits from:

Lower pay

In order to keep costs low, the private providers keep their main cost, teaching staff, as low as possible. UCU believes that pay rates across the private sector providers are lower than those of university-employed staff.

The latest UCU agreed pay rise means a full time entry level lecturer has a starting salary of 30,594 in a pre-92 institution and enjoys annual increments, allowing them to progress up the spine.

All the evidence that UCU has gathered indicates that starting salaries are lower for those on company contracts than for their equivalents in universities. Our evidence 2 suggests that company employees have no annual incremental progression, meaning that the difference is likely to get bigger each year.

The evidence suggests that tutors' hourly rates of pay in universities are also generally far ahead of the private sector.

Hourly rates in universities tend to be in the region of 35 per hour.
We have had reports of attempts to cut rates to 27 at INTO joint ventures
We have had reports of hourly rates as low as 15, 22 and 25 per hour at KAPLAN partnerships.
In March this year, English Language Gazette asked KAPLAN, Study Group International, Navitas and INTO for their pay rates. None of the companies would publish them.

Worse terms and conditions

Our evidence also suggests that these staff have markedly worse contractual terms and conditions. Sick pay, maternity pay and holiday entitlements are inferior.

Teaching conditions are frequently worse, often with class sizes as high as 30 and longer teaching years. Some partnerships have instituted teaching years with no vacations or term structure at all.

Pension loss

These companies operate inferior pension schemes. If they have pension provision at all, they are markedly inferior schemes, such as INTO's money purchase scheme, which has a 6% employer contribution.

Since pension entitlements do not transfer with employment, they are not covered by TUPE legislation and employees who move into private sector employment lose their membership of USS or TPS.

In summary, low pay rates, lack of pension provision and more intensive teaching must raise serious questions about the ability of these companies to recruit and retain top quality lecturers and sustain academic standards.

http://www.ucu.org.uk/media/pdf/l/l/privatecospathwayprovision.pdf[/b]
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Captain Coddo



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well said, SNT. The truth is that INTO have no interest in top-quality teaching or academic standards, as it's all about profit. And that means QUANTITY, not QUALITY!

Even worse, as every student that gets passed through the system means more profit, Into staff are forbidden from writing negative references for duff students.

Shameful, I know, but these guys have no concept of shame!
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Coddo wrote:
Even worse, as every student that gets passed through the system means more profit, Into staff are forbidden from writing negative references for duff students.


Unfortunately the universities that INTO partners with in the UK are also complicit in this whole sorry saga. In the end, these universities, along with British education in general, will suffer a huge blow to it's reputation. Already student numbers are dropping and the perception is out there amongst students that there's a better education to be had elsewhere in Europe. This situation can only get worse as budgets are cut and student numbers drop and universities are left with a shortfall in revenues. The story of LMU is indeed a parable for our times:

Data released under a Freedom of Information request shows the number of UK and EU recruits at the university has fallen from 11,000 last year to about 6,000 this year.

The number of new students from outside the EU fell from 2,000 to about 300.

The university accepts bad headlines about the loss of its licence affected recruitment, but denies a crisis.

The UK Border Agency said it took the action because the university was not making proper checks on its overseas students - that it did not keep records of whether they had the required standard of English to be given a student visa or whether they were attending lectures.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20256192
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Turbo-capitalism in the World of Education. Or should that be "Education" ?
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Dedicated



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 702
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:44 pm    Post subject: INTO and London Metropolitan University Reply with quote

slapntickle,

Let's not confuse the issues here. INTO has never had a partnership with London Metropolitan University (LMU).

INTO has partnerships with East Anglia, Exeter, Newcastle, Glasgow Caledonian, City University London, Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, UEA London, Queen's Belfast and St George's Med School, University of London. Whatever the problems may be with INTO (and I can only read about them as I have no first hand knowledge )these 10 universities all report robust, if not increasing student numbers from both the UK and overseas.

London Metropolitan University (LMU) is in a totally different situation. Months before LMU learned that its right to admit students from outside Europe had been revoked, its staff in India were given notice that they would be out of a job by the end of July 2012. The university decided in February 2012 to close its 2 liaison offices in Delhi and Chennai because of falling numbers of applicants, after changes to the UK government's Tier 4 visa regulations, including the closure of the post-study work route.Only now that the Border Agency has removed LMU's highly trusted sponsor status does the closure of its India outposts seem prescient.

Changes to the visa system could result in each British University losing 5-7 million GB pounds a year,in particular, an end to the right to stay on to seek employment. Only those in jobs earning more than 20,000 GB pounds (US$31,000) can stay on. It was very popular for Indian students to stay and earn enough to repay student loans/debts.

The number of Indian nationals studying at LMU dropped by more than half between the academic years 2010-11 and 2011-12, from 700 to 300.

Overall, there are about 67,000 Chinese and 39,000 Indians studying in the UK, according to 2010-11 statistics, an increase of 43% and 14.7% respectively over the previous year. The UK is still the second most popular destination for international students after the US.

Older more prestigious universities have no problems recruiting students, either from the UK or overseas. We don't need or want INTO.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: Re: INTO and London Metropolitan University Reply with quote

Dedicated wrote:
Let's not confuse the issues here. INTO has never had a partnership with London Metropolitan University (LMU).

INTO has partnerships with East Anglia, Exeter, Newcastle, Glasgow Caledonian, City University London, Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, UEA London, Queen's Belfast and St George's Med School, University of London. Whatever the problems may be with INTO (and I can only read about them as I have no first hand knowledge )these 10 universities all report robust, if not increasing student numbers from both the UK and overseas.


I know that LMU is not involved in a joint venture with INTO. My point was simply that LMU once had a good reputation, but because of this recent UKBA raid the LMU brand has been damaged. This can happen to any university at any time.

Quote:
Older more prestigious universities have no problems recruiting students, either from the UK or overseas. We don't need or want INTO.


While this might be true for the time being, I was speculating about the future. Universities that are partnered with INTO still face problems recruiting quality candidates. What I mean by quality here are students who score 6.5 or above on the IELTS test. Many of the students that enter a foundation programme with INTO are only at IELTS 3 or 4 and there is no way in the world that a short course can bump their English levels up to acceptable academic levels. One of the issues the UKBA had with LMU was that their international students had inferior levels of English. Do you really think LMU is the only school in the UK that has a monopoly on international students with questionable levels of English? By feeding inferior students into these top schools, INTO will eventually damage their reputations and all will fall down the academic league table, with some even facing relegation. This article from the Guardian, entitled 'UK universities face collapse into mediocrity' just about sums things up:

Elite British universities face a "collapse into global mediocrity" within a generation, say the compilers of a new league table of the world's best universities.

Leading universities in the UK have tumbled down the Times Higher Education rankings, while Asian institutions are advancing up the table.

Caltech, the private US university based in Pasadena, California, takes top place, while Oxford and Stanford are joint second. Further down the rankings, US and British dominance is being eroded.

Three English universities are in the top 10. Cambridge is seventh and Imperial College eighth in the rankings published on Wednesday.

Bristol, Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle have all fallen down the rankings, as have Glasgow and Aberdeen. St Andrews and Sussex have dropped out of the top 100 altogether this year.

Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education rankings, said: "Outside the golden triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge, England's world-class universities face a collapse into global mediocrity, while investment in top research universities in Asia is starting to pay off," he said.

China has Peking University and Tsinghua University in the top 200, both of which climbed this year. Singapore's top two institutions also advanced up the table. Korea has four universities in the top 200, all of which have climbed this year with Pohang University of Science and Technology at number 50.

Britain remains the second-best represented country behind the US, with seven top 50 universities and 31 in the top 200. While there are 76 US universities in the top 200.

A separate league table published last month, the QS World University Rankings, was also dominated by US universities.

Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, which includes Oxbridge, said: "If we are serious about staying on top, the government must concentrate investment where it will have the most impact: in our world-class research-intensive universities.

"Our global competitors are pumping billions into research-intensive higher education and leading Asian universities especially in South Korea, Singapore and China are rising fast. The UK cannot afford to be outmanoeuvred by other countries that recognise investment in leading universities is key to growth."

David Willetts, the universities minister, said the UK could not afford to be complacent. "In future, any country that stands still or moves forward only slowly will find itself slipping down the international league as other countries try harder, invest more and improve their research," said Willetts.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/oct/03/british-universities-set-collapse-mediocrity
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Stuka



Joined: 27 Aug 2012
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:04 pm    Post subject: Re: INTO and London Metropolitan University Reply with quote

slapntickle wrote:
"Our global competitors are pumping billions into research-intensive higher education and leading Asian universities especially in South Korea, Singapore and China are rising fast . . . "


Yes, agreed. The reason why schools like Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale became great was because large amounts of cash were invested in them via private endowments. This massive injection of cash continues to this day, which is why they continue to have a powerful brand. Likewise with the nouveau riche universities in Asia that are rising because of the billions that are being pumped into them. Here in the UK the money is drying up so it's inevitable that schools lying outside of the big Oxbridge Two will eventually be relegated.

Francis Bacon famously said that "knowledge is power". This sounds a bit antiquated. The new mantra today is: Money is power. And money tends to follow money which is why Hefce continues to give more to those universities that are NOT struggling:

Several institutions have objected to the nearly 7 million in special funding paid to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, some of which helps to cover the cost of applicants' interviews.

Oxford and Cambridge benefit from the Higher Education Funding Council for England's "institution-specific" funding stream, as a contribution to the costs of running their tutorial and interview systems.

No other undergraduate university receives money from this stream; the 17 other institutions to benefit are all small specialists in disciplines including music and drama.


http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=420748
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