Market forces have brought chaos to universities

Lifting the cap on fees has marketised higher education, with falling student numbers and reduced entry requirements

Some call what’s happening in the university sector a “radical overhaul”. This sounds planned and orderly. But as student numbers fall and talk turns to the politically embarrassing possibility of university bankruptcies, this starts to look more like a demonstration of the law of unintended consequences.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/24/market-forces-chaos-universities-fees

My Christmas with Gaddafi’s spokesman

Moussa Ibrahim was one of her partner’s most charming PhD students and quickly became a good friend. So imagine the shock when Ros Coward turned on the TV and discovered he was the public face of Gaddafi’s regime

Moussa Ibrahim, Gaddafi’s spokesman, who became familiar to the world through his appearances in the Rixos hotel justifying the Gaddafi regime, was reported captured last week. Currently there is no news of his whereabouts, or whether he is dead or alive. If it’s the latter, his fate is not promising. It doesn’t seem highly likely that those who dispatched Gaddafi to his grisly end will be very forgiving to someone who, as the dictator’s minister of information, was seen as the public face of the regime and who spread Gaddafi’s inflammatory messages. But why should I care about the fate of a Gaddafi loyalist and whether he is tortured or not? Because only last Christmas, Moussa was in my home with his German wife and new baby. I cooked them a traditional roast dinner and we played with the baby. Moussa was very hands-on, changing nappies and rocking the baby to sleep. Perhaps more surprisingly, we toasted the Tunisian uprising over several glasses of good red wine, to which Moussa was always extremely partial.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/oct/25/my-christmas-with-gaddafis-spokesman

Graduates: A generation abandoned

Graduate unemployment is not only creating an economic black hole but a terrible human tragedy

A poll reveals that of this year’s crop of graduates, 27% will be heading home to live with parents. Cue comments on the “boomerang generation”, along with explanations that young people prefer free catering and laundry in the parental home to the challenge of independence.

What’s really surprising is there are not far more. Youth unemployment currently stands at 24%, more than three times the national average of 7.7%. Given the price of accommodation and the insecure, temporary nature of young people’s jobs, it’s more a case of who on earth could actually afford to move out.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jul/19/graduates-generation-abandoned

Why are British taxpayers funding EU students at our universities when our own children are being turned away?

British universities will soon learn exactly how much their individual budgets will be reduced, following cuts to higher education.

But they already know one general consequence of these cuts. There are likely to be over 100,000 disappointed applicants this year.

On top of this startling figure, there are 46,000 disappointed applicants from last year who, despite being rejected from their first choice universities, have the necessary qualifications and are applying again.

Full article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1258508/UK-taxpayers-funding-EU-students-universities-British-children-miss-out.html

Britain’s forgotten EU students

The number of Europeans studying at UK universities has soared, yet they have not figured at all in the debate about cuts

Recently, I’ve been teaching journalism at a British university. It’s a popular course already turning students away. But now, with the requirement for universities to trim their sails and cut student numbers coinciding with a hike in applications, it is likely to be turning down an even larger number. This will add to the hordes of disappointed students we have been hearing so much about in the press recently.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/feb/09/university-funding-european-students

Gradgrind with a twist

The current teacher shortage is not so much entirely predictable as entirely predicted. The so-called education “reforms” initiated by the Tories and continued by David Blunkett were carried out in the context of a concerted attack on teachers’ competence and values. Why would anyone want to belong to a profession that is undervalued, over-scrutinised and simultaneously blamed for so many social problems?

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2001/jan/16/teachershortage.schools