Read the text below.
UK Education Secretary Damian Hinds demanded that universities stop unacceptable admission practices.
According to a report, universities have been making “conditional unconditional offers” to university applicants. These offers are made to guarantee students a slot in universities. If students accept an offer from a university, they have to make that particular institution their primary choice. In 2018, 66,315 students from England, Northern Ireland, and Wales reportedly received “conditional unconditional offers.”
The offers may have breached consumer protection laws, according to Hinds. Under the laws, sellers are prohibited from unduly influencing consumers’ decision-making process. Hinds believes that the offers pressure students into accepting a slot in a university and prevent them from considering other prospects.
Aside from being potentially illegal, the offers also affect students’ motivation and desire for achievement. Several head teachers reported that some students tend to be complacent about their grades after accepting the “conditional unconditional offers.”
In addition, the offers also give a bad name to the universities involved. If the offers were proven to be illegal, the universities could be penalized or deregistered.
The University of Birmingham is one of the schools that extend such offers. Its representative asserted that the university’s practice is perfectly legal and does not pressure students into accepting the offers. The school also claims that students who received the offers often receive good grades.
While the University of Kent used to give out the same offers, it decided to discontinue the practice. The university’s applicants scored well in the A levels, an examination that UK students have to take to be qualified for universities. However, their scores were not as high as the university anticipated.