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Academics fall out over SARTOR implementation

UNIVERSITIES WHICH are not arranging to raise entry standards for students in line with Engineering Council plans have been given a clear advantage over those embracing the reforms, NCE learned this week.

Heads of department are complaining of an unfair advantage for universities not due to be re -accredited under the Standards & Routes To Registration reforms until after the millennium.

Universities due to be re-accredited next year are unhappy that some non-accredited courses will still be able to offer a route to chartered membership.

The apparent loophole favours universities which are not intending to renew their re-accreditation for BEng degree courses, but instead plan eventually to switch to courses leading to incorporated status.

These universities will be able to advertise BEng courses leading to chartered status which will require entrants to have only 12 A Level points (the equivalent of three Ds) up to 2001. This will enable these universities to attract more students than those switching to the SARTOR standard of 18 points (three Cs).

Civil engineering scheme leader for Glamorgan University Ken Pugh said: 'There are certain anomalies thrown up by the three year re-accreditation period that we're not too happy about. We are due to be accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators next February. Some universities not due for accreditation until 2001 will be able to produce BEng students to go on to become chartered, while our students will need to get extra tuition under SARTOR rules. It's unfair.'

Association of Civil Engineering Departments chairman David Bonner said: 'It appears that courses not intending to renew their BEng status cannot lose what they've been given and students joining such courses in the autumn of 2000 could then proceed to chartered status.'

The loophole appears to have slipped through the net of the ICE's professional development committee, who have otherwise ensured that a level playing field is maintained by 'transitional arrangements'. These demand that courses not yet tested for SARTOR will still be forced to show a rise in standards from 1999 for students to gain chartership.

Damian Arnold

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