The announcement of the Government’s science and innovation strategy in December included a commission to establish a general review of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and a specific review of computer science degree accreditation arrangements. The reviews will explore issues around graduate employability and consider options for how they could be addressed. HEFCE will be supporting both reviews with evidence gathering and analysis, with sector and accrediting body engagement, and with alignment with the current quality assessment review. Professional accreditation systems have a crucial role to play in setting standards and supporting continuing professional development. They help to ensure that courses equip individuals with high-quality, relevant skills, provide industry with the skills it needs to meet the demands of a modern economy, and signal this to employers. These reviews will begin with a targeted review of the accreditation arrangements for computer science degrees, led by Sir Nigel Shadbolt, to ensure that they are fit for the future. This will include examining the evidence around computer science employment outcomes and going back to first principles about the purpose and role of accreditation. The review will lead to recommendations to ensure that accreditation keeps pace with the needs of private sector employers and the IT professions. A broader review, led by Sir William Wakeham, will work with accrediting bodies and the higher education sector to determine whether there are other STEM degree accreditation systems that would benefit from similar review to ensure that they keep pace with the needs of professions and industry.
EPC members are invited to participate in the short questionnaire which may be found at: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/WakehamReview2015/ by close of business on 10th July.