Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/634/10069
No to privatisation of our universities
As well as huge cuts, the Con-Dem government's agenda for higher education includes throwing open the doors to the creation of private universities.
Private company, BPP which already has sites across the country running business and law degrees, has now been awarded university college status.
Private universities will be a law unto themselves running education for profit and pursuing cost-saving measures such as two-year and online degrees.
They will be able to charge any level of course fees they choose. Combined with moves to lift the cap on tuition fees in public universities, the existence of private providers will drive prices up faster.
Their practices, courses and facilities will not be accountable to public and academic scrutiny. For example they will be exempt from Freedom of Information requests.
As the University and College Union (UCU) has pointed out, they will begin a race to the bottom for education workers.
As employers they will not be subject to national agreements on pay and conditions or even union recognition.
BPP is modelled on US institutions; exclusive business training schools for the super wealthy that charge extortionate fees.
It appears that BPP's success reflects its links to the murky world of big business politicians.
BPP is a part of Apollo Global, a joint venture between private equity firms including the Carlyle Group, made infamous by the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11.
The Carlyle Group, with a board resembling a retirement home for right-wing politicians such as ex-Tory prime minister John Major and George Bush Senior, was awarded lucrative defence contracts by the US military.
BPP students will be taught the lessons of the causes of the economic crisis from tutors with first hand experience.
In 2006 Carlyle set up Carlyle Capital Corporation to invest in mortgage backed securities.
Following the sub prime crisis in the US property market in 2008 the company, despite its short existence, was reported by Reuters in March 2008 to have defaulted on debts worth $16.6 billion.
Carlyle Capital was quickly wound up.
These governments claim there is no more money for higher education and that large scale cuts must be made.
But private vultures like BPP are now allowed to profit from the sector.
Along with fees and cuts, privatisation in higher education must be opposed with a mass campaign to kick out the fat cats.
Socialist Students fights for free, fully funded, publicly owned and democratically controlled education at all levels.
In The Socialist 4 August 2010:
War and occupation
Workplace news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party LGBT
Socialist Party events
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Review & Comment