Design Schools support a basic standards plan

Design colleges have welcomed proposals from the Higher Education Quality Council that suggest basic common standards for university degrees.

The HEQC’s interim report recommends that all students should reach national standards in literacy, numeracy and general knowledge in order to graduate.

“They may also need some core of knowledge relevant to the subject area,” says an HEQC spokesman. He adds that design students are difficult to categorise because their portfolios are “so individual”.

“Ensuring minimum standards is entirely reasonable, I think this is an excellent idea,” says a spokesman for the London Institute, the umbrella body for London colleges such as Central Saint Martins School of Art and Chelsea College of Art and Design.

And John Cook, De Montfort University’s new head of three-dimensional and graphic design, sees it as “a good move – quality control of design graduates needs to be monitored”.

As a result of the HEQC report, Education and Employment Secretary Gillian Shephard has given the go-ahead for the creation of a single body to monitor standards. This will be up and running by the end of 1996.

Kent Institute of Art & Design has suspended its one-year MA course in art and architecture six weeks before it was due to start, after a decision to create additional space for the students.

“The course needs construction of very large projects, and we are extending the space,” confirms Kent’s director Peter Williams. The six students will study parallel courses at Kent, such as computing, or will defer until October 1996.

See education feature, page 13.

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