Three key articles on the changes in Higher Education

Prof Stefan Collini’s article in the October 2013 London Review of  Books is partly based on the review of two books from key individuals (see notes 1) . His article is very strong, detailed and beautifully written. Some quotes -“But for all their differences, these two books provide a chillingly convergent description of the huge gamble that is being taken with higher education in England: an unprecedented, ideologically driven experiment, whose consequences even its authors cannot wholly predict or control.”

“Future historians, pondering changes in British society from the 1980s onwards, will struggle to account for the following curious fact. Although British business enterprises have an extremely mixed record (frequently posting gigantic losses, mostly failing to match overseas competitors, scarcely benefiting the weaker groups in society), and although such arm’s length public institutions as museums and galleries, the BBC and the universities have by and large a very good record (universally acknowledged creativity, streets ahead of most of their international peers, positive forces for human development and social cohesion), nonetheless over the past three decades politicians have repeatedly attempted to force the second set of institutions to change so that they more closely resemble the first.”

Marina Warner writes from her personal experience and how she was forced out at one University and the proliferation of gagging orders at Universities, March 2015 London Review of Books.

Andrew McGettigan brings us right up to date with the student loan book, the possible sale of the loan book and the impact on the national debt. Here is just one of the quotes “It is now thought that the new higher education funding system will add more than £100 billion to the national debt before repayments reach a significant level in the mid-2030s. At that point, the OBR thinks, the borrowing to create student loans could constitute one-fifth of national debt.”

All articles from the London Review of Books – excellent for long thoughtful reads.

Note 1

The books reviewed in Collini are:

Everything for Sale? The Marketisation of UK Higher Education by Roger Brown, with Helen Carasso Routledge, 235 pp, £26.99, February 2013, ISBN 978 0 415 80980 1 and

The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education by Andrew McGettigan
Pluto, 215 pp, £16.99, April 2013, ISBN 978 0 7453 3293 2

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