The state of Higher Education
You couldn’t help but notice that it’s all about universities and higher education at the moment.
Whether it is cuts, protests, union ballots or old-fashioned cheating in exams, universities are making the news – and for all the wrong reasons.
Here at UAL, you’d have had to be blind not to have notice of the upheaval of the past term.
While we might have thought we were in the eye of the storm, as more and more redundancy figures countrywide are revealed, it seems we’re just a peripheral problem.
Here the exact number to have bitten the dust is shrouded in mystery but we think it’s around 29, yet the latest figures suggest 15,000 nationwide posts could be at risk in higher education.
At the moment it’s course cuts that are making the news, but have you ever asked yourself where it will all end?
Currently there are over 160 unis or instititions of higher education, with redundancies expected in over 45 of them.
So how long is it before universities start closing?
Working on the last in, first out policy any new universities created from polytechnics could be at risk first.
With £450million stripped from university budgets it sort of makes sense.
The next piece of negative press for universities came as figures were revealed by Universities UK that show as many as 300,000 hopeful students face rejection in the application process next year.
As many as four in 10 who apply will lose out after an overall 23 per cent surge in applications, so that’s less places thrown into the mixing pot along with less money, less courses and potentially less universities.
The future doesn’t sound very rosy – although for us in education at the moment these problems don’t really register in comparison to coursework, dissertations and such like.
In truth, we probably wonder what effect, if any, they will have on us for the rest of our higher education careers.
With a General Election fast approaching expect education to become an even hotter topic as manifestos and promises are made by parties vying for power.
Tory higher education spokesman David Willetts has already said that if the Conservatives win power they plan to create extra funds to finance 10,000 more university places this summer by offering an early repayment discount on student loans.
But when you’re not in power, you can say whatever you want really.
Finally, and on a lighthearted note – cheating in exams was shoved firmly under the spotlight.
Apparently, mobiles phones and writing on your arms were the preferred choices of the cheats these days.
It all reminded me of my English Literature A-Level many years ago.
I had written keynotes to essays through my copy of King Lear on selected pages.
My final grade – a D! - just shows that the cheats never prosper, and the only thing worse than a cheat is a bad cheat.