An uncertain future for Higher Education

Cap and symbolsAs somebody who has logged many years in higher education and who assiduously follows HE policy wonks, blogs and tweets, I have never known an era when the future for universities is more uncertain. In advance of the general election, I have blogged about the HE Hustings in Westminster which took place in early March.

Below, I try and distil a few more issues which occupy the HE policy landscape. This is inevitably a list which reflects my own, and English, preoccupations, and it is therefore partial – in both senses of the word.

There are several bodies which aim to influence future government policy on HE. The Million Plus think-tank and the University Alliance mission group have laid out their wishlists, while Universities UK, the vice-chancellor’s representative group, has set up a Student Funding Panel due to report after the election. Continue reading

It’s time for universities to make the case for public education

mortar boardA journalist recently wrote that higher education has been ‘weaponised’ as an issue for the forthcoming General Election. An eventuality that might now be contemplated ruefully by the nation’s Vice-Chancellors who, in future, might be careful what they wish for.

After years of relative invisibility in the public sphere, mentions of universities in politics and the media are now as frequent as mentions of cricket. The optimists among us can congratulate ourselves that this signals a welcome democratisation of higher education. Continue reading