Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Higher Education reform: saving no money, helping no-one

One of the most damning revelations recently about the Government's ill-fated reform of Higher Education is this: it won't save much money.

The Government has massively optimistically assumed that graduates will earn an average of GBP 100,000 a year (in real terms) in thirty years' time. This seems an over-estimate at best - and a deliberate attempt to make sums up at worst.

Don't believe me? Take the respected Higher Education Policy Institute's word for it.

Instead of saving about GBP 3bn on teaching, as the Government hopes, the figure now looks more like GBP 700m. And 'back loaded', towards the end of this Parliament, so that the main savings will be made when the deficit is (theoretically) cleared anyway.

It's also becoming clear that Scottish and Welsh students won't pay nearly as much as English students - increasing the drain on the UK taxpayer, and public services in those countries, to pay for the decision to triple fees in England. The apparent 'gain' to the Exchequer, in cost as well as in efficiency, will have to take this into account too.

It couldn't be clearer that this is an ideological choice to push Higher Education into the market. It can't have been based on much evidence, as many among us have been saying since the start of this saga - in the end, the Browne Report turned out to be rather a pathetic thing when compared to the massive tomes published by the Robbins Report into Higher Education (1963) and the Dearing Report (1997).

In short - intellectually, this is turning into a bit of a shambles. What a pity.

No comments:

Post a Comment