The election result suddenly seems more unpredictable than previously thought, and the polls are all over the place. But both major parties’ manifestos suggest plenty of post-election chaos for universities, says Martin McQuillan.
As fees take the stage one final time as the General Election campaign draws to a close, Mark Leach argues that it is time to bring the whole issue back to reality and proposes a bold move to ensure that HE fees and finance take their rightful place at the heart of our political and economic debate.
Jim Dickinson on political parties and the promises (and pledges) they make to students.
A fortnight ago, the higher education choice at the forthcoming general election became clearer as a result of Labour’s policy announcement. Graeme Wise returns to the issue to assess the winners and losers from the £6,000 fees policy.
Can we expect an unaccustomed and not entirely welcome focus on universities at the coming General Election? Or are we in a position where, as Oscar Wilde said, ‘There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about’. Edward Peck on why we should welcome the return of universities to the national debate.
Following Labour’s announcement that they would lower fees from 9k to 6k, Alistiar Jarvis looks at why the policy isn’t nearly as bad as some in the sector had feared – but warns of challenges on the road ahead.
In his first public comments since leaving the Civil Service, BIS’ former Head of Higher Education Matthew Hilton and new DVC at Kingston University reflects on the big questions to which we’ll be looking to answer after May, as well as the nature of decision making itself.
On Sunday Theresa May informed the press of her intention for the Conservative Party’s next manifesto to include a pledge to kick out foreign students as soon as they graduate and introduce a shift to a ‘zero net student migration’ level. Rather than being able to apply for other visas while still in the UK, foreign graduates would have to go home and apply to return. Universities would have to enforce this, risking fines or losing their sponsorship licence if they failed to take sufficient steps to enforce it. Tom Bailey takes a closer look at this idea and where it came from.
Based on her comments last night at GuildHE’s Annual Conference, NUS President Toni Pearce recasts the role of students, universities and society in the big debates the sector are having about markets, competition and engagement. Through challenging policy pressures today, and an uncertain period heading towards a General Election, Toni calls on the sector to – without waiting for politicians – start playing a greater leadership role in society based on a deeper connection with the values and expectations of students now and in the future.
As the BIS Select Committee adds its weight to the growing consensus about the (un)sustainability of the Coalition’s higher education funding policies, Sam Jones looks at the difficult political and economic climate both before and after next year’s General Election. With the policy case now hard to refute, he calls for another Browne-style review to create political consensus and lasting change.
In his first report as Director of HEPI, Nick Hillman calls for an end to the messy status quo that has led to fragmentation across UK higher education and it’s regulatory regime. He calls for policymakers to set out where they stand and bring the debate forward despite difficult politics to settle the many outstanding questions that lay before us.
Cheered on by the right-wing press, it is a widely-held belief that there are “too many graduates”. So what does HE expansion look like in that context and what form should it take? Not pulling the ladder up, but moving and positioning it, ensuring that the expansion of the future offers transformation and returns appropriate to the age, not build on outdated ideas and prejudices. Jim Dickinson reflects on the wider debate and the ideologies and politics that drive it.
The Liberal Democrats kick off the party conference season in Glasgow next week. Will they develop a firm (and different?) position on higher education as the 2015 General Election approaches? Even after a policy review headed up by Baroness Brinton and a business department led by Vince Cable, their position is still very hard to predict. In a first of a series covering each main party’s annual conference, Andy Westwood looks at the state of the Lib Dems through an HE lens.
As Oxford announces a £75 million donation to help its poorest students, Mark Leach tries to put the money in context and dreams about what else could be achieved with a chunk of change that size in higher education. Also, the news that the 2013 Comprehensive Spending Review may be delayed until late 2014 tells us some interesting things about the state of the Coaltion.
The Coalition Government is in terminal decline. Its sense of purpose has dissipated and internal politics threaten to derail the whole enterprise. The higher education policy circus that came to town in 2010 reflects more than ever the tensions within the Coalition and the bizarre, inconsistent and occasionally bad policy-making that stems from this faltering political arrangement. The Coalition’s expiry date is May 2015, and despite the entire Government machine fixing its sights on that date, things may fall apart before then.
The immigration minister Damian Green gave a speech yesterday to the think tank Reform explaining the proposals set out by the UK Border Agency in its consultation on student visas.
The legal firm Pennington’s, who are experts in immigration law, suggested this week that the consultation itself could be illegal.
The Conservatives pledged to lower net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’ in their General Election manifesto. Since taking office they have realized that through a quirk of data processing that counts student in net migration figures even though very few international students take up permanent residence in the UK, enacting this pledge would require drastic cuts to international student numbers.