Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/677/12319
Government's white paper on higher education proposes...
Universities on the cheap!
This week has seen further announcements about the sweeping privatisation set to hit our higher education system unless it is successfully fought.
As the Socialist goes to press, we are awaiting the government's white paper, which will confirm plans to roll out marketisation and privatisation. David Willetts has told universities to 'no longer consider themselves part of the public sector'.
If the government is allowed to pass this bill, the new system will see competition between institutions encouraged, even enforced. Universities will be competing for the 'right to expand', based on attracting the most AAB grades students.
Willingness to charge £6,000 a year for a degree will be rewarded with the ability to increase places, paving the way for a two-tier system. The overall cap on government funded places will however be maintained, making the closure of some institutions almost inevitable.
In addition to this, a huge expansion of private university numbers is planned. 'Any willing provider', will be allowed to run courses and accredit degrees.
The Con-Dems clearly hope to be able to move towards an American style, fully privatised system.
News has already emerged of talks taking place to allow the firm BPP to take over the running of ten state funded universities. The for-profit company wishes to run the supposedly 'back room' functions of these institutions, including the maintenance of the campus, IT support, administration and other essential services.
The likely result of this private takeover became clear with the boasts of the BPP chief executive that he will cut a university's costs by 25%.
This is a pledge to run universities on the cheap, with massive cuts to staff and services inevitably taking place.
All this comes just weeks after it emerged that David Willetts had a direct hand in encouraging the former University of London philosopher AC Grayling to set up his elite, £18,000 a year boutique university (New College of the Humanities) for rich Oxbridge rejects.
The government's 'mantra' is cut what you can and privatise the rest. Students and workers must fight back.
In The Socialist 29 June 2011:
30 June pensions strike
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party news and analysis
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