Thursday, 21 October 2010

Vice-Chancellor Warns of Privatised University Education

A stark warning has come from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ulster in light of the Browne Report.

Professor Richard Barnett says what he brands a small group of "elitist" English universities lobbied and got a lot of their own self interest included in the Browne Report. A point that if true should send alarm bells ringing amongst those of the Liberal Democrat MPs who seem to have so whole-heartedly switched to accept the recommendations. Recommendations that we were wary of back in May enough to allow us to abstain if we didn't like them.

The view of these elitist institutions he says is that University Education should essentially be privatised. That would appear indeed to be what the lifting of the cap on Tuition Fees would allow, Oxford and Cambridge already competing on the international stage for best performers in academic achievement would be able to increase their funding without increasing the student base.

Professor Barnett said:

"This is a case of not wasting a good crisis to push through that agenda.

"Fortunately for us higher education is a devolved responsibility, it will be a decision for the assembly to decide.

"But, the scale of the cuts here do not justify the scale of the increase of fees.

"As we re-balance the economy it's skills that matter. This is an investment in our future and it's important that all sections of our society be part of that new economy. Every country in the world is investing in skills and in universities."

However, the agenda of Browne seems to be to privatise the institutions of Higher Education. That will make it a case of ability to pay not ability to learn that will be the differentiating factor.

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