- Guardian Letters
- United Kingdom
We are approaching the first term under a new regime in UK Higher Education (and particularly in England), which represents a seismic shift in the nature of public provision, marked by the removal of the cap on tuition fees.
As academic staff we wish to declare our continued opposition to a system which will increasingly exclude working class students and others from non-traditional backgrounds and promote higher education as a privilege. The irony is that while students are paying hugely inflated fees (albeit as 'loans'), universities are making cuts in academic, professional and support jobs which will seriously affect the extent and quality of educational provision.
The scapegoating of London Metropolitan University as part of a government publicity stunt to bolster its immigration policies, at the same time as university support services are to be contracted out, exemplifies the political nature of the attack on Higher Education.
The entry of Pearson Education into ‘the market’ demonstrates the developing privatisation of Higher Education and, as in health and social care, the prospect of large multi-nationals becoming key providers.
The assault on Higher Education is accompanied by an attack on funding for trade union, adult and community education.
The current crisis should be (and is) leading educationalists, students, parents, academics and trade unionists to consider alternatives to this exclusive and increasingly class-based system.