Select Committee on Education and Employment Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 40 - 46)



  40. Right; and are you aware of the work of Callender, whose report, I think, was done a little after yours?
  (Professor Yorke) I have not seen that.

  41. It has just been published. Are you aware of the work of the Cubie Committee, which looked at these sorts of issues?
  (Professor Yorke) Yes.

  42. Do you think it is a similar sort of thinking that led them to reintroduce grants, albeit funded by an endowment payment at the end of study?
  (Professor Yorke) I would imagine so.

  43. My last question is something different, which is the issue of the money given to universities to support poorer students, they are given an amount of money to do that. Do you think there is merit, and I think the Committee is thinking about this, in increasing the amount of money but giving the increase at the end, on completion, so the universities have an incentive to use all sorts of measures, without following constraints along the funding that they have already given, to ensure that they get that incentive, that reward for taking students through? Do you think there is merit in that, to focus universities' minds on financial rewards for getting students through?
  (Professor Yorke) I have handled this, in one of my earlier incarnations. I was in charge of the access fund, and very unhappy at being a one-man, credit-rating agency, which is what it seemed to be, because it is very, very difficult to decide between competing priorities. I am not sure that leaving the money up till the end would be a good thing, because it could well be that the students would be disadvantaged—

  44. I do not mean the access fund, sorry.
  (Professor Yorke) Sorry, I misunderstood you then.

  Dr Harris: I mean the money that is used, that is given to universities, the premium for poorer students.

  Chairman: I think Dr Harris is almost making a parallel to the way in which the Government funds the New Deal, whereby, the people that go onto the New Deal, on the six-month programme, the trainers get a payment at different stages, and, indeed, get a bonus at the end, (a) on completion and (b) on getting a job. So it would be a similar process; am I right in that?

Dr Harris

  45. Yes; universities get the same premium they get now but they get the same premium on completion, which may, if they have not had to spend much money getting that student through, give them a "profit", but, otherwise, it actually compensates them and they get the reward for getting that student through and putting in the extra support, and I think they do that in Holland, for example?
  (Professor Yorke) I would think that has some merit.


  46. Professor Yorke, would you indulge the Committee by staying with us, if you would, for a little longer, and can I invite our two other contributors today to join us, because I am sure, fascinating as the session we have had so far was, it may be that the Committee want to come back and bounce something off you, Professor; if you would not mind staying with us?
  (Professor Yorke) Sure.

  Chairman: Thank you.

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