This week on the podcast we discuss OfS’ new guidance on student consumer protection and wonder whether it’s possible to offer the certainty that the law suggests they are entitled to.
We also look at this year’s iteration of the HEPI / Advance HE Student Academic Experience Survey, Onward and British Council reports on China, and the Rhodes Must Fall protests.
With Shân Wareing, Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Northampton and Aaron Porter, Governor of Goldsmiths & BPP universities.
Items this week:
- Close scrutiny of relationships between the University of Queensland and the Chinese Communist Party should offer a salutory warning to universities in the UK.
- David Kernohan goes in depth with the latest HEPI/Advance HE Student Academic Experience survey.
- OfS’ Susan Lapworth introduces the latest regulatory guidance on student consumer rights during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- DfE and OfS have been telling students to complain if the “quality isn’t there”. Jim Dickinson digs into the rationale for a Covid complaint.
- OfS has guidance out on making accurate promises to students. Jim Dickinson peers into the crystal ball.
To get involved in The Wonkhe Show, email email@example.com
(Please note this is auto-generated and un-edited)
[00:00:01] It’s the Wonkhe show. We talk consumer guidance. The student experience, China and Rhodes must fall. It’s all coming up.
[00:00:40] Welcome to The Wonkhe Show, a direct way into this week’s higher education news, policy and analysis. I’m Wonkhe’s editor in chief Mark Leach, reporting from home in London. We have Shan Wareing, deputy VC. of Northampton. Shan, give us a reason to be cheerful. Climb up.
[00:00:58] Listen, to be cheerful, nearly the weekend kids are coming nights. Yeah, like it’s me half the week.
[00:01:04] So tonight I see the Lovely and Incap. And we have our reporter, governor of two universities onsultant Aaron Porter
[00:01:10] Yeah. Hello, everyone. And I’ve been really enjoying the vintage sport that’s been played on television and a lockdown. So it’s been a great trip down memory lane. Less and more to come this weekend.
[00:01:21] And somewhere on the M4 ichi corridor, it’s wonky associated, sir, and spirits correlation cop David Conehead or G.K to you and me. Dekay, your reason to be careful this week.
[00:01:29] Well, this week was my first wedding anniversary, so congratulations.
[00:01:34] Thank you. Right. The Office of Students has issued guidance for ensuring consumer rights, urging universities to make their information clear and timely this year. DKA took us through this, please.
[00:01:42] Well, we’ve been expecting consumer rights guidance, legal affairs for quite a while. It’s been lingering on their big list of things they’re about to publish. Haven’t we were kind of expecting something more, general?
[00:01:51] But we got a specific look at the way consumer rights applies to the situation during and beyond the pandemic. Now, most of the contents are not going to be a surprise to people who are in this area. Students have had consumer rights regarding their interactions with universities for a number of years now. And it doesn’t really change anything that what we’re looking for in this report was something about the change in circumstance and how universities should be responding to their students and applicants need for information. Now, what we’ve got is the same thing as we’ve got pretty much every other time a member of the IFRS has spoken in public, which says universities need to provide certainty to students, provide information that is clear and timely about what being a student in September, October, 2021 is actually going to be like for them, what it is that they’re actually buying.
[00:02:49] The report warns that if the students get something different from what they think they are buying, then they do have consumer rights and they could adopt a number of approaches to seeking redress. They could go with an institutional complaint and the Heshy, they could even employ a lawyer and go to court. Students, of course, when they accept an offer, they’re effectively signing a contract. And if a university isn’t keeping up its title of the contract, then there is a legal problem. So that’s broadly speaking, it. The sector response was largely. Well, that’s lovely. We’d like to have some means by which we can be certain about what’s going to happen in September or October. We’re still getting the thing that it’s all being left to individual universities. A big shift from the mood earlier this year. When they appeared to be a certain amount of movement away from the idea of institutional autonomy from our regulator, we’ve now gone in the other direction and everything’s up to universities. And if they get things wrong, then students will see their day in court.
[00:03:59] Thanks, C.K.. Shown how Claire and Tony. Can you be. And does this guidance help or hinder?
[00:04:05] Well, it’s no doubt it’s incredibly tricky. And it’s been headstone trying to solve the various conundrums it’s presented us with. We do want to be clear to students for all sorts of reasons. One is it’s obviously really important that we enroll students financially. We want we want students to be clear about the futures. We want them to make the choices. And we have to play it with a straight but we can’t oversell or under sail because if we oversell, I think students will turn up in September and very rapidly tell us they’re not getting what we promised and leave again. So we are trying to walk a tightrope on this in terms of how much help the guidance has been. I think the sector has found much the guidance as it come out to national level has been too little, too late. And we’ve already had to make hard decisions, cuts to planning and make decisions ahead of the guidance to the most we ever hoped. Look, we look at the guidance is that it backs up decisions made.
[00:04:55] I mean, Aaron, looking at looking at the offers coming out of universities this year, I mean, would you I mean, how sanguine would you be about what the experience might look like in this context?
[00:05:05] It’s difficult for for students in truth to know exactly what they’re going to be getting and indeed how different it would be from what they were otherwise going to expect. And in some ways, that the guidance is helpful because specifically it sets out that the institution needs to be clear about what the student should be expecting, but also how that might change in the event of a contingency. And I think in a way that’s helpful for institutions, because I think it gives them the backing to say almost this is what our plan is. But actually, if things go wrong or the public health circumstances change, this is what. Plan B or even Plan C might look like. I think that’s the only realistic way that this can be dealt with. It does provide a tricky situation for universities because they may have to articulate more than one potential offer. But I think that’s the only way that we can square the circle.
[00:05:57] I think you mentioned the address. This seems to be one of the trickiest elements here. As Jemina on the site pointed out, it sends you slightly round in circles, isn’t it? Because there’s a you know, if you’ve got a problem, please take your complaint to the office of the Independent Predicates.
[00:06:11] And this week, the independent adjudicator said they’re not. That’s Dubea question of academic judgment. They’re not gonna be able to make rulings about about about the quality of courses this year in in all this crisis stuff.
[00:06:23] And most Germans can’t afford to take the university to court. And who has the time? So do we need. Do we need some other doing it, some other avenue?
[00:06:31] Well, it does to me speak to a deficiency in the current arrangements in England for quality assurance in universities.
[00:06:39] I mean, we kind of cover this a little bit on the pocket last week. But there is a problem wherein we don’t really have any direct levers to understand what is actually going on in university and what that quality experience looks like. Students have got the ability to complain to people. And we get a lot of output measures, some of which quite some considerable time after the students in question have left university. We don’t really have a way to know what’s going on, on campus, on a given in a given year or give a number of years.
[00:07:11] I suppose if there’s one big glaring omission from the from this guidance, it’s a lack of reference to learning outcomes, because to me, in a way that that is the stach has to be the central driving force for the arrangements that institutions need to make. And actually it’s the protection of learning outcomes. And if they are impeded or undermined in any way, that’s the basis upon which students mightly have might should have a right to some kind of recourse or redress.
[00:07:38] So I’m sitting in here of Jim Dickinson’s big concentric circles diagram, which you’ve probably seen if you’ve seen him present on pretty much any matter in the last six months here, argued that the academic experience is at the core of what students are buying into when they come to university. But you’ve also got the wider experience of being a part of a learning community, of the social aspect of university as well. And students are in many ways, they’re buying all that. If you look at a prospectus or an offer, it’s not just an offer that we will give you access to teaching that supports these learning outcomes that will get you the skills you need.
[00:08:14] They talk more widely about the experience of the campus, the experience of meeting other students from different parts of the world to talk about the experience, even of kind of being away from home for the first time, taking the first steps into a for many students, the first steps into an adult heard of managing their own affairs, managing their own finances. A lot of that is gone and that that they’re not learning outcomes, their social outcomes. And whereas learning outcomes are quite easy to map to online or partially online provision, the social outcomes as students unions are starting to grapple with are very, very difficult to move online.
[00:08:56] Yeah, so I completely agree with that point. And we’ve been putting learning outcomes program learning outcomes at the heart of our planning because obviously many of our students are getting professional, professional body accredited awards. They’re going to go out immediately and work in services where we have nurses, midwives, paramedics and lots of other disciplines. But we need these students to go out qualified and accredited and able to work. And I think one of the really interesting things about this debate is it’s kind of shone a spotlight on the difference between the award that ask people to go out into their working lives and their careers and that wraparound experience, which is really important from enjoyment, gateman, mental health and also networking, other things that we learn. But university is not directly responsible for all of that. And I think some of the questions about what happened in September. Questions about why to society. And I wouldn’t you know, I think if we differentiate between what universities are definitely responsible for, I think is that trajectory to achieve learning outcomes again or move it to a different stage in your professional life. And then the other things, I think we certainly have a duty of care for. But so does the rest of society. Perhaps making that distinction makes it easier to talk about the promise and what is going to be like, because the autumn is gonna be different for everybody. It’s going to be less travelling for all of us to be less socialising for all of us, whether we’re on a university campus or not. So I think universities holding the entire responsibility for things which are actually a much wider picture, is perhaps a level of complication beyond the thing we need to really focus on here, which is students having an opportunity to move on with their lives.
[00:10:39] Right. Let’s see who’s been blogging for us this week.
[00:10:44] My name, very natural. And I’m a current widening participation project coordinator and a recent graduate education studies. I wrote a piece along the question and the arbitration thing. Anti-Racism made by university system be seen only as saving black staff and students this semester and most likely by coincidence. In response to the recent protest sparked by the unjust killing of Judge Floyd and others at the hands of the police, this seniors are uncomfortable to considering issues such as the existing attainment gap for which the government figures between white the black student lack of funding. Black Caribbean Pinched said. Nationally, as highlighted by the leading group, Spoken pipelined the court and the more specific instances of racism that take place within individual institutions, which I discussed in the piece, I argue that perhaps these statements will be better off being communicated by equality in inclusion teams and others who are insanity to support staff and students. It’s clear that an immense amount of work needs to be done by universities for them to live up to these statements. And now, more than that, there’s a need for institutions to be honest and open about where improvement is needed.
[00:11:46] Hi, this is Paul Gratwicke, employability business partner at the University of Liverpool. Recently I wrote a piece for the site on rethinking value for money in socially distant times. This was based on some research I conducted into value for money at higher education institutions. But it was done at a time when students were in an ordinary circumstance. But the main kind of finding about research were from a value for money perspective. Getting what you expect is important as tuition fees and teaching learning content. So let’s look at those three things and how they may be impacted by the current situation that we’re in.
[00:12:26] So this week, Happy in Advance H-E released this year Student Academic Experience. A very influential annual report has given us the first little snapshot of how students are feeling and what they’re up to in the Post’s Colvard 19 World. What stood out for you?
[00:12:42] Well, this is a really sort of an annual date in the diary for the higher education community, being at a track year on year, what students think about their academic experience. And there’s a few things that jumped out for me. And the most interesting, and I hate to say it, but it’s that Kofod link once again, because, of course, the fieldwork for this survey was taken both before campuses went into lockdown and a little bit afterwards. And this might be the first big chance for the sector to realise what sort of impact it’s had on the student experience. And and perhaps understandably, the results are such that whilst compared to last year, there is some improvement in the way in which students are perceiving higher education for those students that completed the survey. Once institutions had gone into lockdown, they did they were less relatively less satisfied than those peers that had completed the survey earlier on in the in the academic year. And I guess understandably, whilst the sector should undoubtedly be congratulated for the swift action it’s taken and the the gargantuan effort that it’s gone to, it is going to have some impact on the on on the students experience.
[00:13:57] It’s so frustrating, though, Ahran, in that we can nearly see that, but we can’t quite see this because of the way that the split has been designed in the post. Corvet cohort of people answered the survey. There are a load more male students load more students from private school. Unhallowed more that accessed Hetu kind of via a clearing. So it’s not really comparing like we’re like it’s like a glimpse or half a glimpse and it’s. Yeah, sorry. It’s just really frustrating that we can’t quite see it.
[00:14:29] I agree. It’s tantalising. And I was going to throw in one other thing. DKA as well, because those institutions obviously think long and hard about deploying the assess every single year. I think they also get a sense that students to complete the survey quickly, others often have the strongest view, are often strong, kidlets, most strongly positive and sometimes a little negative. But as you go on into the fieldwork, you get more of the, dare I say, less strongly viewed students suggestions for less strong views. And I’m sure that that’s borne out in this in this survey. But there’s a second thing I wanted to to perhaps draw to our attention, which is that thorny issue of feedback. We know that in 15 years worth of an assess, it’s been the area which has always scored most poorly. I think the stubbornly poor progress which the sector has made as a whole on this issue, despite lots of efforts, really, the dial hasn’t moved dramatically well in this happy AKCA Happy Dance H-E survey. We start to see some positive mood movement in relation to feedback and how it’s being dealt with. Indeed, students are more likely to cite the quality of feedback as a major reason that their experience was better. Thirty seven percent this year compared to 29 percent last year. That’s really in the scheme of things. Quite a positive sign for the sector.
[00:15:47] Yeah, I agree with that. And actually, I think that’s a fantastic result. But I also agree with your earlier point out differences in the student body. And I was struck. The survey picked up I think 20 percent of the students were black age, minority, ethnic. And my my current interest on my previous one were over 50 percent. And I think that links to other differences in profile as well, such as age profile. And I think that’s particularly important because of where the students are living away from home or in their own homes. And you might expect that to generate huge differences in experience, which I felt was masked by the happy survey. So I came away thinking how much this is telling us really about how students at University of Northampton think we we run surveys internally over the Kovik period and looked at how satisfied people were with the comps and the learning and teaching. We actually saw an increase in engagement in many areas. We saw better attendance and better module outcomes, lots more modules this summer, which we’re really pleased with. But then again, the area that we’re worried about is the relatively small number of students who are struggling to work successfully from home or struggling with their digital skills or struggling with band activity or equipment. So I’m very conscious that there’s a massive difference in experience, which the average belies. And that’s one of our responsibilities, I think, to really work with those students who are most marginalized or most vulnerable.
[00:17:13] I would absolutely agree, Sean. And we need to be very careful about the way we use the average to signify all students as well. We need to look quite deep into the weightings in the data table. Now, for a number of years, this survey has massively overreached over emphasize the experience of students who went to a private school. Now, in the U.K., student body as a whole, seven percent of students went to a private school. But in this sample, it is nearly 20 percent of students went to private school. Now, from what we can see from this survey, if you look at the splits between private and state school, they’ve got a very different conceptualization of what university will actually do for them and what university actually is. Students from private school are much more likely to say that their future success will be determined by their family connections, their circles of friends, the school friends, the school that they went to and the university that they chose. For students from state schools, they’re more likely to cite the skills they develop their choice, of course, and even their class of degree, which to me speaks of two very different university experiences.
[00:18:30] And if we are overweight, if we are over emphasized, then one of them in this survey, then we have a problem with the survey. So please, Nick, please, Rachel, in future, can you wait the sample for private and state schools and make this a lot more useful by being actually representative of the wider student body?
[00:18:52] I want to check it out because I think it’s going to connect to the items and to talk about later around Black Lives Matter. But I think one of our problems is society’s. We have too few people from minority groups, black, Asian, minority ethnic groups, other minority groups in positions of authority and decision making. Education is a key route to people moving into those positions. And if we’re not getting their voices in surveys like this, then we’re not able to make our education system better, able to support that their social mobility into positions where they are making decisions and they are sitting on our executive bodies. So I think I think it all links up actually. I think marginalizing voices here next, marginalizing voices in positions of power. And that links to the social campaigns we’re seeing at the moment around Black Lives Matter.
[00:19:40] I wonder if between expertise, we have a week when the next real data that that’s going to give us a proper insight into student life during Kopacz 19. What that will be, is it is it NSX later in the summer?
[00:19:55] Well, I think it’s coming out on the 15th of July. I think that’s right.
[00:19:59] But the fieldwork for an asset, though, of course, will largely have taken place in February and March. And so I’m not sure what proportion of the sample will have had disruption as part of their experience.
[00:20:13] I imagine at the moment, a lot of people will be thinking very carefully about the ways to actually represent that this year, that there is obviously going to be a difference. But we don’t know how much of it is assignable to colvard. How much of it is assignable to you getting towards your final exams at the end of year three and you might be feeling a little more anxious in other ways. I don’t know when we are going to get a proper look at.
[00:20:39] Experiences of students under are covered that we can compare to a model that we can compare to a usual year. So we can see how that is different, even in stuff that we’re gonna get you years down the line. Even stuff like the Gradual Outcomes Survey.
[00:21:01] I’ve got a lovely blog that we’re about to publish on this that is like, OK, every year of the Graduate Outcome Survey. It’s going to have an Asterix on it because every one of them is going to be exceptional in a different way, because either it’s the first time you’ve run the survey or because of Covais or call this the first one post conflict. So we’re really struggling to have data that we can compare against other data that exists out there. I think we’re going to have to commission or someone’s going to have to commission a proper survey of this.
[00:21:29] And it would have to be something that uses maybe even this instrument that just looks at it strangely.
[00:21:37] I think this is where module evaluation forms within institutions might come into their own and they won’t be they won’t be perfect. But of course, and they get a bit of a snapshot in real time of a more immediate bit of the experience. Now, of course, these aren’t nationally comparable, but within an institution comparing how your students in this spring and summer term have compared their experience to last year, spring and summer, I think might give some really interesting insights. There may be an opportunity to bring some of those pieces of analysis from various institutions together, be it through mission groups or nationally. But that’s possibly where I’d start with warnings.
[00:22:13] The international numbers from East Asia might seriously drop this year. We turn now to look at the UK’s relationship with China. As governments and media commentators and politicians start turning against what the Times editorial call this week, cooking, the goose shone. One earth is going on.
[00:22:29] Thank you. So this is the topic around. The latest British Council student survey found that 39 percent of students from mainland China are considering cancelling study plans. And students from Indonesia and Taiwan also today cancelling overseas study plans. And that suggests that UK universities could fail 463 million pounds short or in the coming academic year. So obviously, that’s something to focus on minds. So I think what’s going on behind this is a couple of things. One is the rhetoric around overseas students, international students taking pieces from hope students and census data on that which show that that’s that narrative. Isn’t that. But the statistics that total numbers of places have increased and numbers have increased for home students as well. I think there’s something about the long term plans of China and the way that they’ve systematically moved into areas like transport, buying up heavy metals, obviously working in digital and Wi-Fi, and that their global influence is increasing. So I think there’s a concern about that long term strategy and what that puts the other superpowers basically. And I think there’s a part of it as well about overreliance on single income streams. But also I think UK universities have rather treated international students on transnational education as money for old rope. And I don’t think we’ve invested enough in those partnerships. So I think perhaps on the receiving end now, treating them like consumer relationships rather than building up and investing in much more equally collaborative partnerships. And finally, I think we really need to think about if a response that makes us more smaller is the way we want to go on this. I think we should certainly continue to work with China. We want to be global. We want to have these effective relationships in research and education, because that’s part of our mission as universities. So I think there’s a lot of different strands at work here and different interests. So I think it’s a fascinating question. Obviously, we’ve got a short term issue with the fall in potential fall in income. But I think a longer term issue about the pace we want to work at universities and partnerships decay.
[00:24:47] There was a rather bonkers report out from on the right wing think tank this week about this very issue. What does that say?
[00:24:54] So this was a strange little report that looked at the proportion of international students, as well as looking at the overall student body and then me, the usual right wing argument of castigating these students are coming over here and taking our places, which is I think we can do better than this, frankly. And even the Maston actually work because he’s using proportions, this conservative MP, Neil O’Brien. He is ignoring the fact that university enrolment has increased substantially over the same period. So there’s probably that same number of students or a similar number of students from the UK at. Even the highly selective universities he chose to look at than others.
[00:25:46] Indeed, I think there was only one university that he looked at where the headline is actually born on in all the other. We’re seeing evidence of expansion in numbers or states as regards home students. So home students are not being crowded out of highly selective institutions or any institutions. And I suspect these proportions are going to go down in the coming years. I mean, in both because of problems with students travelling to study in the U.K. and because of a demographic increase in the proportion of 18 year olds in the U.K. that are more likely to want to go to university. So a little bit of a strange report, but as Sean suggests, it does play into a narrative, a cultural narrative, where elements of the U.K., if they’re in trouble, they tend to look around for somebody to blame.
[00:26:46] Indeed, the Times editorial was interesting this week because it kind of suggested that university become overreliant on China. And it seemed like that’s that’s part of a wider push against China coming from from the government, possibly, possibly a longer term move. Is there a risk that investors are going to get caught in a crossfire here?
[00:27:06] Yeah. I mean, the evidence points towards this being a coordinated, deliberate and strategic move led probably by government or forces within government. And if you think about the people that are behind some of this thinking with the onward report and what Neil O’Brien is, is a well-connected are actually highly thought of young conservative MP who moves in in particular circles. Yet there’s a there’s a real and present danger here for a higher education institutions that seem to be on the wrong side of the culture wars, the wrong side of the Brexit argument, the wrong side of the immigration argument. And we need to double down on our efforts to present not just a coherent argument, but a coherent argument to the right sorts of people, people in influence that need to be persuaded, but also the general public. I think the higher education community might have convinced itself it’s won the argument that international students are universally welcome in this country. I’m not sure that’s always the case, even though the evidence is very clear that the economic benefits that they bring in a rising tide of nationalism. I don’t think we can be complacent about what a sticky situation this might leave us in and talk about moving in those networks.
[00:28:21] We had Rachel Wolf at our Wonky at Home event just earlier this week, and she is co-author of The Government’s manifesto A Last Election and advises government on a number of things as it has worked directly for Boris Johnson in the past. And we asked her about China and the government’s approach to it. And what she had to say was was deeply fascinating. I’m just going to play a clip.
[00:28:42] Is unquestionably growing pressure from a very large number of employees now to reset the relationship with China, although I think it is very early to say what that might tangibly look like. But is going to be not only in the UK but globally, as we look at, you know, what was already a kind of burgeoning trade war situation. How other countries will this is going to be one of the greats. Is it that the US, China, QET and unattracted is going to be the kind of great story of our time when we look back three centuries for now? And this is one one part of that story. So what is going to have an effect?
[00:29:20] What was fascinating about what Rachel was saying, I think was on the one hand, yes, there is that big strategic push moving against China and the China Hawks possibly, possibly winning out the argument inside government. But the thing that struck me was, was a note of optimism, which is that those those people who are also skeptical of China and power and join a pushback against it are also parents of children and human beings who wants people to have good life chances. And she does. She seems to think it’s unlikely that there’ll be any direct intervention to stop Chinese students coming to the UK. But there’s a lot that there’s a lot there’s a lot that could fall short of that that could be hugely destabilizing. And we’ve seen in all sorts of different international education markets where, you know, a small little adjustments of policy and changes of rhetoric have really affected trends of recruitments.
[00:30:17] Yeah, absolutely right. Actually, when you look at the changes that be made in the requirements for visas for international students and how that’s budgeted up over the years, and that’s impacted on different universities who are working in different regions or had students who had different likelihoods of getting visas, are those those changes themselves which now seem minor in comparison to this? Absolutely. Astronomical potential change. But those those had huge impacts on university budgets and with universities like Alesi or Imperial or UCL that hugely rely on international student fees. This is a massively destabilizing event for the whole sector.
[00:30:57] Yeah, there’s one other reason I’m sort of disappointed, by the way, in which this argument is has come about, because in a way, I think it makes it less easy for us to address some genuine questions, which I think the sector does need to face up to. I don’t think I think the DCA and Sean has rightly said the crowding out argument is a false one and the evidence clearly demonstrates that. But within institutions, I think it is reasonable to say there are some departments, there are some programs for whom dependency on international students and sometimes that’s Chinese students without those, that program is completely unreliable. And I think those are genuine questions which do need to be considered in the round. But if it’s done in the backdrop of a kind of a a a more ill considered sweeping generalization about China and Chinese students in the whole, I actually think it makes addressing legitimate questions much harder.
[00:31:58] All locked down were running wonky at home.
[00:32:00] A series of online events presenting new thinking, perspectives and ideas for the sector as we collectively build our way out of the current crisis. For the latest event and book your tickets now at Rocky dot com slash events.
[00:32:13] And finally, following the removal of Edward Coalson statue in Bristol, we’ve seen a revival of the Rhodes must fall campaign, not Oxford as a Black Lives Matter protest move to a new phase of confronting our history. Erin, what’s going on?
[00:32:25] Yeah, well, it’s it’s a well-known campaign. Of course, the colonialist born in Britain, of course, went to South Africa. Cecil Rhodes, who was an alumni of Oriel College, Oxford, a prominent statue there. And this the activity, the wave of action that we’ve seen started in the US and, of course, has spread globally has reignited passions and the debate in in in Oxford. My personal view is that it does seem completely incompatible in the 21st century. Someone with the views that Rhodes had would be commemorated with a statue. I appreciate that there are some degrees of complexity. Lord Patten, Chris Patten, the chancellor of Oxford University, pointed out the generous scholarship program that is in Rhodes, his name, which supports students from black backgrounds at his university. But I would segment the two. I don’t see a problem with a scholarship program that does good for students from black backgrounds. But that doesn’t mean that you still need a statue. So my view is, let’s have the debate. But personally, I’d like to see to see the outcome of that date debate be that the statue should fall.
[00:33:45] Charlotte, this isn’t just an Oxford question, is it either? I mean, London matters removed the than the name scars from its art school this week. And that’s that’s probably gonna put pressure on other universities that use that name to. And universities have long and deep links with all sorts of parts of difficult parts of our history. You know, I mean, I wonder if this is a kind of thing that the whole sector needs to confront.
[00:34:10] Yeah, definitely. I think so with the Edward Colston statue in Bristol. It seems to me that place for these statues is museums, places. These statues is places where we put a commentary around that explains who these people were, how they were part of society at their time. What happened as a consequence to different groups of people? How, you know, white privilege emerged from that. And we have to remember it and we have to think about it. And we have to explicitly create a society that, as you said, recognises where wealth comes from and recognises where those structures come from. So absolutely, a place for these statues is not in celebratory venues. It’s not in the middle of squares, and it’s not in places where, you know, you see them when you railway stations. But I think we should be doing with them is preserving them in places where we don’t forget our history, because we we actually have to engage with it and understand how it can be that no time after time any of us can be on panels that are completely white. And that is a consequence of that period of history. And universities, I think, just starting to work through the implications for curriculum and the way that we engage with our students and staff on that. And we’ve got a very long way to go.
[00:35:24] Yeah, I, I completely agree with with, with, with Sean. And I suppose there’s a and I think that for some individuals it’s a fairly easy judgment call. As Sean has rightly said, the statue shouldn’t be in a prominent celebratory place. It should be somewhere where there’s some context, like a like a museum. I do think it will raise a thornier issue for some individuals for whom it is a more complex judgment about the individual. And obviously, we’ve seen the University of Liverpool have chosen a quick time to rename Gladstone Hall after a liberal prime minister who is widely admired for much of what he did, indeed, a prime minister that led the way in terms of the abolition of of slavery. So I think that’s a much harder judgment call. And we’ve also seen some that would suggest that Churchill. Is it a figure that we can celebrate? I mean, I think that takes us into really difficult territory. I think the overwhelming contribution that Churchill made to public life is an incredibly positive one. But clearly, there are also views that he held in relation to India and elsewhere, which don’t stand the test of time. Were wrong then a wrong wrong now.
[00:36:39] And of course, there were things that he did, Ahren as well. I mean, we need to remember Tony Pandy. We need to remember Athens. We need to remember Bengal as well.
[00:36:51] There is the statue issue more. And generally, it speaks to like the, ah, the great man of history idea, it’s kind of like Michael Gove conceptualization of history where in this house things happen, these amazing all white British men come along and they change things and make things different. That’s why history works. It’s not how history was. Nothing at all. A lot of that, is it.
[00:37:22] I think Ticos point is really strong there because I think we spend a lot of time on the symbolism and obviously symbolism matters. But I think it can be a distraction from action. I’m a bit concerned over the recent weeks with the amount of I would call virtue signalling people, universities and other bodies have put out statements and I think both words are cheap.
[00:37:42] But may I completely, completely agree with that. And I should say, you know, one of the universities I’m on the governing body at Goldsmith’s last year of, you know, had a really difficult period of dealing with student protest, a group of students who both felt and saw evidence of institutional racism. It was a it was targeted at Goldsmiths. But let’s be frank. I mean, I think every institution stairs the whether it’s to be any attainment gap, whether it’s the differential in unemployment outcomes. And, yes, let’s have a discussion and a debate about about statues. But let’s put the real emphasis on addressing those that systemic and structural racism that does exist in society. Higher education is incredibly well-meaning, but it does need to obviously put action in place to really start making a change.
[00:38:38] So that’s about it for this week. Remember to delve deeper into anything we discussed today. You’ll find links in the show notes. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to the podcast or translate. Just search for the wonky, surefire Apple podcast or your favorite Android podcast rectory, or find the feed you need on Waukee dot com. Such forecasts. And if you fancy appearing as a guest on talk show, drop us an email on team at Warnke dot com. And we’ll be in touch. And until next week, stay Wonkhe.