Higher Education Bill Concessions Are A Minor Detour On The Road To Privatisation
The government’s Higher Education and Research Bill comes back to the House of Lords today, probably for the last time. Following hours of detailed scrutiny at earlier stages in the Lords, a bad bill had been much improved with a series of helpful amendments. These included moves to define what constitutes a university; ensure international students continue to be welcomed; and protect students from unscrupulous ‘for profit’ colleges.
How sad then that, yesterday, the government chose to throw out most of these changes and press ahead with plans which seriously risk damaging the global reputation of our universities.
One might argue that government concessions wrung from inter-party negotiations in recent days make the bill palatable. In my view, they don’t. Rather they ask the government to make a minor detour while allowing them to keep their long-term plans to marketise the sector firmly on track.