Meeting with Shabana Mahmood

On 13 June, Gill Clarke, Mick Fuller and Douglas Halliday met Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood and Shadow Higher Education Secretary. We had a wide-ranging discussion about current issues in postgraduate education, including the following topics: 

Meeting with Shabana Mahmood

The need to recognise the diversity of postgraduate education that exists in the UK and that factors such as subject area, mode of study, student background and reasons for embarking on a postgraduate programme all affect the student’s experience and outcomes.

The impact of graduate schools and doctoral training centres/​partnerships on the structure of postgraduate programmes, particularly PGR.

The HEC Postgraduate Inquiry and complementary HEFCE initiative about the future of postgraduate education in the UK, and the range of topics under consideration, including widening participation, fair access, funding (especially for PGT programmes) and the related point concerning the impact of undergraduate fees de-regulation.

The perceived STEM bias in higher education which extends to postgraduate level.

Recent policy developments such as the recently-published QAA UK Quality Code Chapter on Research Degrees and the Masters and Doctoral Degree Characteristics guides.

Shabana Mahmood confirmed her and colleagues’ commitment to encouraging and incentivising universities to help grow the UK economy and her interest in supporting stronger regional economies and new industries, with postgraduates at the heart of growth. She also emphasised the need for a broad range of measures of successful outcomes of postgraduate programmes, over and above average salaries.We all agreed that the UK maintains its highly-regarded international profile for excellent postgraduate provision but that significant reductions in funding could potentially undermine this.