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.
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.
With the dust now finally settled after the general election two weeks ago, it has allowed us all time to reflect on what the results mean for the country.
The Conservatives won a shock majority after Britain went to the polls on May 7th. The economy had been the major talking point in the build up to the election with the Tories positioning themselves as a ‘safe pair of hands’ to manage the country’s continued economic recovery.
With the 2015 General Election now less than six weeks away, attention has turned to the main political parties’ economic strategy. As always the debate will have a crucial influence on who ends up in power.
David Cameron has claimed that his government are running on a “record of economic success”. A key part of his pre-election rhetoric has centred on warning of the risks involved in handing the country’s economic recovery over to the Labour Party. He has urged voters to remember Labour’s record of high borrowing while in office, something which Cameron insists would be disastrous for Britain’s economy should it happen again.