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Further erosion of Higher Education

(4 Posts)
plasticfork Tue 28-Jun-11 09:06:18

Am I the only one to watch the most recent plans for HE unfurl with utter horror?

As reported on the BBC News Website

First the government removed almost all funding from HEIs and brought in full fees. Of 6k and above. Then after the uproar about exclusion of students from lower income families, HEIs were told they had to provide x amount of bursaries. The only way that HEIs could provide bursaries, with no funding, is to charge the other students more, so lots of HEIs set high or maximum fees.

Realising that they were going to have to pay out millions more in loans that anticipated, the goverment suggested that people who were prepared to pay more could buy their way onto courses.

Now we have them suggesting private companies and "more room for expansion for those universities willing to charge lower fees of around £6,000 per year" when the only reason more HEIs aren't doing that already is because they were ordered to provide more bursaries!!!

The report also states a lot of things as new, which actually happen already...

# Universities will have to publish information about students' employment chances and salaries
They already do!
# Inspections triggered if concerns raised about teaching standards
They are already audited and checked by the QAA, HEFCE and other bodies
# Student charter setting out consumer rights
Almost all HEIs have one of these already!
# Universities compete for proportion of places
already happens.

How about good Higher Education for everyone who wants in? How about investing in the good institutions that exist already, instead of trying to get around the mess of fees that they have caused themselves instead of trying to get someone else to do it on the cheap?

Its madness!

Euphemia Tue 28-Jun-11 11:30:59

IMO the big mistake happened 20 years ago when the polys were allowed to become universities.

We've ended up with a big mash-up of institutions all chasing the same money (a tiny pot at the moment), and we have also diminished the vocational nature of the polys.

We have 50% of the population coming out with degrees for which there are no jobs. This is not new: it's been the case for a long long time.

Perhaps we need to have "research" institutions and "other" (we'd need a better name than that!) institutions for more vocational-based programmes? Then the research funding could be better used in a more concentrated way.

I have worked and studied in both old and new universities, and I have seen excellent work going on in both types. I don't think we can afford the number of HEIs we have at the moment, though, especially when they are all chasing the same government funding.

inkyfingers Thu 30-Jun-11 15:52:05

I'm quickly losing confidence in HE situation. I've a son in lower sixth and with so much change happening by the day, I'm much keener for him to wait - gap year/job before jumping into chaos, £40,000 debt, highly insecure job prospects... and discrimination being only EU nation with such high fees. Unless he gets a really good graduate job I can't see it's such a good thing. I don't believe a degree 'opens doors' anything like it did even a few years ago.

lionheart Thu 30-Jun-11 16:15:36

No, you are not the only one. They are making a mess of it.

I'm only surprised that it still surprises me.

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