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Principal speaks out about the New College for the Humanities

Posted on 09/06/2011
PaulLayzell

In a letter published in The Times (8/6/11), our Principal, Professor Paul Layzell wrote:

“Sir,

I was surprised to read (report, June 6) that A. C. Grayling plans to launch a private university awarding University of London degrees next year, and even more surprised by his expectation that Britain’s brightest students would pay £18,000 per year for a course they could study here with Royal Holloway’s own eminent academics for £9,000 per year, or even at home, as many do around the world, for a total of £10,000.

The New College of the Humanities website gives detailed descriptions of the courses that Royal Holloway has produced for the University of London’s international programmes, without crediting us as the author. Our intention in producing these courses was to make our programmes more widely accessible, at affordable prices, to anyone around the world who, for whatever reason, cannot come to our Egham campus. These courses are written by us, and they are even marked by us. Although there is nothing in the terms of our agreement with the University of London’s International Programmes to prevent it, morally I and my academic colleagues find it completely wrong that our material should be taken and sold at such a high price to individuals privileged by their wealth, rather than just their intellect. Potential students should look very carefully at New College’s claims of a superior teaching style, and assess for themselves whether that is worth such an enormous uplift in price.

More surprising still, its website offers history as a joint honours course, which the college says students can choose to study as a major or a minor combined with literature or philosophy. At present, Royal Holloway only offers a BA in history, via the International Programmes, so I wait with interest to see how New College proposes to submit students for a degree that does not exist.

Future students take note; around the University of London are colleges offering the highest quality of teaching, a tremendous student experience, a cohort of high achievers — irrespective of their background — and academics who teach with a passion for their subject and a belief in the value of higher education, all for half the price of the New College.

Professor Paul Layzell

Principal, Royal Holloway, University of London"



 
 
 

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