Coalition really has ‘lost the plot over higher education’

This week Oxford dons passed a vote of no confidence in higher education minister David Willetts for the first time in history and The Public Accounts Committee rebuked the coalition for its staggering miscalculation over tuition fees that will leave a massive funding gap. It’s hardly surprising that the UCU has accused the coalition of ‘losing the plot’ over higher education

When the coalition pushed forward with their plans to raise tuition fees despite the Lib Dems pre-election pledge to vote against such skulduggery, they insisted that most universities would charge £6,500.

But in the wake of £1 billion in teaching cuts, it should have occurred to David Willetts that universities would be looking to claw back some of the lost revenue through higher tuition fees.

Now his oversight looks set to restrict even more people from attending university beyond those who have been priced out by an average tuition fee of almost £9,000 across the UK.

But even higher fees may not save many of the UK’s universities, some of whom are already making substantial losses – and according to a newly published study by the Parthenon Group, 50 of these face financial ruin.

So many more students may suffer the same fate as fellow students at London Metropolitan University – where courses are axed and degrees cannot be completed or worse still, just when their studies appear to be going well, the cash runs out and the doors are bolted for good.

So in the midst of the utter chaos and shambles that the coalition has inflicted on the education sector in little more than a year, David Cameron has announced plans to hold a summit on higher education to reflect on coalition policy.

Let’s hope that reflection includes a minute of silence when they bow their heads in shame and consider the thousands of jobs that have been lost in the sector and the thousands of students that will be deprived of the opportunity of a higher education – all because their agenda of commercialisation and commodification means that only those with fat enough wallets can access it.

Related Links

BBC News – Oxford dons declare 'no confidence' in Willets

Public Finance – Higher fees create funding gap, say MPs

Daily Mail – Students face degree crisis: troubled universities may axe courses before they're completed

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