Campaign Resources and Materials

Below you will find a series of links that you can use as campaign resources and materials.

Condensed summary for those asked to

  • Double
    whammy – loss of government funding for Arts, humanities and Social Sciences,
    plus a (likely) cut to the research budget (still awaiting details on this)
  • Basic
    economics means bigger courses (preferably with more overseas students) with
    far fewer staff in fewer institutions.
  • Staff/Student
    rations will rocket
  • Those who
    can – i.e. the elite institutions will recruit with high fees attracting elite
    students from privileged backgrounds. Those HEIs who have in the past attracted
    less privileged students will, in general, suffer the most.
  • It’s an
    entrenchment of inequality right through the system at a time when most other
    OECD countries are investing in HE as a route out of recession. 

Counter arguments
(just a flavour of the debates being voiced)

  • Too many young people go to university anyway –
    they would be better off being trained in vocational colleges.
  • There is no evidence that the Arts, Humanities
    and Social sciences lead to more creativity, empathy and tolerance. Dictators
    read poetry.
  • Universities have had it too good for too long
    and need to start responding to their customers more – this will make them
  • There is no evidence that higher fees will put
    off the less privileged from going to university
  • Why should tax payers fork out for subjects of
    little or no economic benefit
  • Academics spend their lives swanning around
    international conferences and taking 3 month holidays, they don’t need more
    time they need to be  more

etc etc.

Useful news stories/press releases that provide some of the detail

Silence is deadly by Aeron Davis, The Times Higher Education, 2 December 2010 [on why Vice-Chancellors should come out in support in the campaign against the cuts]

Cut the shock doctrine: Radicalize Common Sense by Paul Bowman, Culture Machine, November 2010

Browne’s Gamble by Stefan Collini, London review of Books: Vol. 32 No. 21 · 4 November 2010

The Death of the University, English style [PDF] by Nick Couldry and Angela McRobbie

It adds up to a dodgy deal by Malcolm Gillies, The Times Higher Education, 11 November 2010

Cuts and their Consequences by Natalie Fenton, Three-D, MeCCSA Newsletter October 2010 (before the Browne Review but the arguments remain the same)

Browne’s recommendations the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for affordable higher education, UCU Press Release

Humanities to lose English universities teaching grant by Hannah Richardson BBC News education reporter, BBC Website, 26 October 2010

HEFCE Annual Conference Speech by David Willetts, 21 October, 2010

Selected extracts:

By far the greatest part of that reduction flows from our acceptance of the approach presented by Lord Browne – that, starting from the 2012/13 academic year, we will start to reduce HEFCE teaching funding, and institutions will be able to replace it, if they can attract students to their courses, with funding flowing via the graduate contribution
scheme. […]

It is not for us to say precisely what efficiency savings a university
should make, but crucial areas to look at will be pay and pensions, procurement and shared services.

We have not reached a final decision on the levy and the fee cap, but there is an
interesting feature within the current arrangements for higher education
funding, which consist of a basic cap of £1,310 and a higher rate cap of
£3,290. It would be possible to set new levels for each, with stringent
conditions on access which any institution would have to meet before setting a
graduate contribution at the higher rate. […]

universities who wish to charge more for undergraduate courses need to produce compelling
evidence as to what the extra money would buy in terms of better teaching,
contact time and services for students. And it is legitimate for students to
ask why the finance reforms introduced under the previous government failed –
in some cases – to deliver improvements to their educational experience.

This is one of the reasons why I attach so much importance to supply side reform.
Competition is a great driver of improvement. We want to see innovation and a
diverse range of choices for students – two-year courses, for instance, and
more vocational degrees

It is proof that this Government recognises the fundamental role of science and research in rebalancing the economy and restoring economic growth. Despite enormous pressure on public spending, the overall level of funding for science and research programmes has been protected in cash terms. And as we implement the efficiency savings identified by Bill Wakeham, we should be able to offset the effects of inflation – thus maintaining research funding in real terms.

The Government is committed to getting business and universities working more closely together. I am therefore working with HEFCE to reform Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) to increase the rewards for universities that are most effective in business engagement

Some articles in response to the cuts on the national demonstration

Same riot/demo, different views by Shakuntala Banaji, 11 November, 2010

Student fees protests: the real vandals by Priyamvada Gopal, The Guardian, 13 November 2010

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