Higher Education Green Paper – Guardian letter 10/11/15

The government’s green paper, Fulfilling our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice, outlines the means by which market forces will be permitted to permeate further into higher education in England and to a more limited extent the rest of the UK (Editorial, 8 November). It is likely to lead to higher tuition fees for many, increased state intervention into the organisation and delivery of HE, more bureaucracy for staff and less autonomy for student unions.

Universities will be fundamentally transformed by these proposals, and the sector will be further disaggregated. Funding will be concentrated on a few leading institutions, and higher education will once again become available only for a minority who can afford to bear heavy debts. Open scholarship, collaboration and the sharing of discoveries for all are set to be displaced by objectives that privilege corporate interests and employability. The framework advocates the further embrace of metrics, the use of price as a proxy for quality, the relaxation of conditions of entry to the sector for private providers, and the creation of a regulatory body to ensure consumer protection from the abuse of market power. This is a failed model – the same one that failed to prevent the financial crash and the banking crisis.

Universities should be places where staff and students can take risks, to develop critical and creative skills, to innovate and inspire – and, above all, to teach, research and learn without the fear that their every move is to be measured and quantified. The proposals outlined in the green paper will make it harder for universities to deliver high-quality education for all. We have committed to the holding of a convention for higher education in February 2016 to bring together as wide a constituency as is possible in defence of the sector from the reforms. We welcome all those who share that commitment to join with us. We can be contacted via https://heconvention2.wordpress.com/
Tom Hickey Brighton UCU
Professor John Holmwood Nottingham, and Campaign for the Public University
Professor Martin McQuillan Kingston, and Council for the Defence of British Universities 
Professor Des Freedman Goldsmiths
Dr Sean Wallis UCL, UCU national executive committee and London region
Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia UCL UCU
Professor Miriam David Institute of Education
Professor Dennis Leech Warwick
Priyamvada Gopal Cambridge
Feyzi Ismail SOAS UCU
Professor Bob Brecher Brighton
Professor Richard Farndale Cambridge
Dr Adrian Budd South Bank UCU
Professor Jeff Duckett Queen Mary University
Professor Natalie Fenton Goldsmiths
Professor Jane Hardy Hertfordshire
Dr Carlo Morelli Dundee, and UCU national executive committee
Professor Malcolm Povey Leeds
Mary Claire Halvorson Goldsmiths
Dr Geoff Abbott Newcastle
John Wadsworth Goldsmiths
Dr Deirdre Osbourne Goldsmiths
Dr Michael Bailey Essex
Professor Jane Rendell UCL
Dr Bruce Baker Newcastle University
Dr Stacy Gillis Newcastle University


Link to Guardian Letter


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