Monday, 3 October 2011

Marking the government's homework

All the universities have or will submit critiques of the government's plans to dismantle the higher education sector: The Dark Place has already done so, and it was pretty good. Oxford and Cambridge Universities released their own submissions today, and it's not nice, particularly as virtually every government minister is a graduate of one of these institutions (which doesn't say much for the quality of education there). If I were the Tory Party's parents, I'd be phoning a private tutor and taking away the Playstation:
Cambridge’s council warns that ministers risk damaging the global reputation of Britain’s universities and says it is “dismayed” that the White Paper has no “overall vision and strategy” for the sector. It warns that higher education “should not be reduced to a utilitarian equation of cost and personal financial benefit” and also says it is “regrettable” that the government’s approach to reform “has been a cause of alienation rather than one of inclusion”. 
Oxford’s submission… warns that the White Paper proposals “will bring turbulence to the higher education sector which will be felt for many years” and “demonstrate little thought about the links between research and teaching”. “Students are partners in shaping their learning, not consumers of a narrowly defined educational product,” it states. Oxford also raises concerns that “implementation of the model of ‘consumer choice’…will actually hamper attempts to widen access, hindering rather than enhancing social mobility”.
Minister David Willetts held at least 12 meetings with for-profit education firms before publishing his plans for university reform for England. Meetings with representatives from two firms accused of recruitment or public loan fraud in the US were among them. 

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