Students at the Heart of the System

Various authors, United Kingdom Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Jun 29, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

White paper released by the British government describing planned changes to the higher education system. The paper transfers more of the responsibility for funding the system to students, via tuitions, opens the system to private providers, and regulates them via access to the student loan system. About a quarter of all student positions will be opened to competitive bidding across two dimensions, one being the quality of the students admitted, and the other being the quality of the academic system. An overall cap on total admissions remains in place. One good thing is that repayment of loans is via a tax on future incomes over 21,000 pounds. But as one commenter (John Clarke) asks, "Can anyone show me a developed country that has had 'success' opening up its HE sector to private market forces?" More commentary at Inside Higher Ed, von Prondzynski, comments on the Guardian. Also, Tony Bates on the privatization of the university system, and a quick summary where he remarks, "naming a document that sets out a policy based on students paying annual tuition fees of $14,000 a year as ‘Students at the Heart of the System’ smacks somewhat of the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell’s ’1984′." Too true.
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