higher education

Utilitarian barbarians at the gates

According to today’s Guardian, Charles Clarke, the education secretary, has attacked the principle of public funding for “ornamental” HE disciplines such as medieval studies (having already said much the same about classics) on the grounds “that universities exist to enable the British economy and society to deal with the challenges posed by the increasingly rapid process of global change”. So farewell to learning for learning’s sake, hello to more vocational courses (and dare I say it, Mickey Mouse degrees, as Margaret Hodge would term them). (the Times Higher broke the story, while Tristram Hunt has a good comment piece in… Read More »Utilitarian barbarians at the gates

Some good news for HE

The Independent is reporting that the government is to put an extra £1.5Bn into academic salaries. Notable quotes: At Labour’s National Policy Forum on 1 December, [Tony Blair] said university lecturers were “probably the worst-paid workers in the public sector”. He said their pay had only increased by five per cent in the past 20 years whereas the figure for the rest of the economy was 45 per cent. The article goes on to note that this might mean pay rises of up to 18%, though doesn’t attribute this figure.

2 + 2 = 5

More coverage of the top-up fees issue in today’s Grauniad, which analyses the DfES‘s claim of a lifetime salary premium of £400,000 enjoyed by graduates (or to put it a different way, a £10,000 salary premium for each year of your forty year working life) and finds it rather wanting. Of particular note is the comment (from an academic at Essex) that “graduates only maintain their premium if they work in a field where their skills are in short supply”. Still think that the graduate premium will be £400,000 when 50% of young people end up at University? In other… Read More »2 + 2 = 5

Let the dukes subsidise the dustmen

Good comment piece by Roy Hattersley in today’s Grauniad on ways of solving the funding crisis in UK higher education without recourse to the £6000+ tuition fees that various universities are threatening (Imperial College and Warwick, my first university, being the chief culprits). Hattersley, as sensible as ever (shame he’s not still on the front benches), advocates a graduate tax as a progressive source of funding that properly reflects the advantage that a degree confers on a graduate, unlike the fees-and-loans fiasco, and goes so far as to say that such a tax should be “levied on all graduates, not… Read More »Let the dukes subsidise the dustmen