GE2017 and Inequality in Higher Education

By Dr Oana Borcan

As parties tour the country parading their shiny manifestos and skilfully dodging the tough questions from the press, much confusion ensues over the problem of inequality in higher education and how best to address it. On the one hand, Labour and others criticised the Tories for the hike in tuition fees over the past years and for scrapping the £3500 non-repayable maintenance grants for students from disadvantaged backgrounds in August 2016. The implication, as critics suggested, would be that disadvantaged students would be laden with the largest debts, potentially deterring university entry in this group and deepening income inequality. On the other hand, we see the Conservative government raving about the current record number of disadvantaged students in higher education and warning that a Brexit in the hands of other parties will ruin this progress. In defending their policies, the Tories seem to focus more on absolute numbers and Labour, Lib-Dems, Greens and UKIP more on the relative performance of disadvantaged students; In this blog I will (1) go over the numbers and (2) the proposals and, finally (3) discuss the evidence relating to the effectiveness of proposed policies. While I focus here on policies related to the equality of opportunity in higher education, other proposed education policies can be analysed in a similar way.

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Higher Education and Brexit: It is not just about the money

By Dr Fabio Aricò

The media and the press have bashed us with endless sequences of statistics and figures about the loss of fee revenues and research funding universities would incur as the result of a Brexit. There is no doubt that this is a real threat for the health of the British Higher Education system, but when thinking education we should not focus exclusively on money matters: quality is the real concern. I am an immigrant academic, who had to compete to secure an academic job in the UK. More than that, I am the teacher of a large and internationally diverse group of students, and I can appreciate the benefits of working in an internationalised campus environment. In this post I will argue that competition among academics, and diversity within the student population, are the key determinants of quality and excellence of the British Higher Education system. Brexit is a threat to such excellence, and here are the reasons why.

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Corruption in Sport

By Dr Peter Dawson

One would be forgiven for thinking that corruption in sport is a recent phenomenon given the frequent news stories of corruption, bribery and doping offences. These have included performance-enhancing drug taking in cycling and baseball and match-fixing in football (soccer) and cricket. This is not the case however. Examples have been documented as far back as the Olympic Games of AD 388, where Eupolos of Thessalia bribed three of his competitors in the fist-fighting tournament. In 1889, American baseball pitcher Pud Galvin used a testosterone supplement derived from the testicles of live animals, including dogs and guinea pigs, in order to gain a competitive advantage.

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IAAF President Sebastian Coe

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