Part-time Now: Barriers To Part-time Learning In The New HE LandscapeGround-breaking research into part-time students’ experiences undertaken by The Open University (OU) in Wales and NUS Wales is to be rolled out across the UK.

The research project, ‘It’s about time’, surveyed more than 1,300 students across Wales. The Open University (OU) in Wales and the National Union of Students (NUS) Wales piloted the study to find out why students choose part-time courses and what barriers they face.

Preliminary results from the research suggest that part-time and flexible provision in higher education is crucial to improving access to education, employability and skills in Wales.

The final report of the Welsh research will be available later this year.

The UK-wide research will be led by the OU’s Dr John Butcher, Deputy Director of Access and Curriculum, and has been commissioned by the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Over a 12-month period, thousands of students across the UK will be consulted to glean their views on what it is like to study part time.

Rob Humphreys, Director of The Open University in Wales said:

“We’re delighted that our research project has been so successful that it will now be broadened out to take account of the wider UK picture. The work done here in Wales has provided valuable findings and a firm foundation for this next phase.

“This project highlights the ability of both the OU and NUS to work proactively in Wales with our students here and to develop that work further through our UK-wide reach.”

Stephanie Lloyd, NUS Wales President, said:

“To truly make education accessible to people from all walks of life, we must have strong provision for part-time study. That’s why NUS Wales joined forces with the OU on this research.

“Part-time study is vital to our nation’s success in building a better work force that can compete globally. This and so many other reasons are why part-time students are now getting well deserved attention in this UK-wide study.”

Following the highly successful start to this work in Wales this study will allow essential analysis and comparisons to be made of part-time study across the four UK nations as higher education policy in the UK becomes increasingly divergent.

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