Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scottish universities 'should sell extra places' to Scottish students says Professor Jim Love, buy a free education, is he completely nuts?

Dear All

Prof Jim Love has ideas.

The next Scottish government should consider letting universities take in extra Scottish students who are willing to pay thousands of pounds in fees.

Tuition fees by the back door.

The Fraser of Allander Institute is a leading think tank but Love’s idea won’t fly with politicians.

And as to the report also suggesting all Scots should pay towards degree costs after graduation.

Well he is off beam on that.

However he does call for a major inquiry into the future of Scottish higher education.

What is needed is a four tier education to replace the current out dated and defunct three.

University, College, Community College and Schools!

Universities have been left to fester, building up mini empires of dysfunctional patchwork structure.

What has remained is the core principle of greed, unaccountable and non transparent.

Like black holes they suck up taxpayers cash and the return is poor.

Universities need to be slimmed down, the College sector needs to expand, Community colleges introduced and Schools taken out of local Council control.

That is the debate that should be happening; Professor Love isn’t radical by any means, another way of trying to keep the status quo and transferring the problem onto someone else in this case the student.

Currently, the Scottish government decides how many Scots students can be enrolled in universities and pays for those places.

Prof Love says there was a need for a "more clearly contractual relationship" between government and universities.

The report said:

"Governments could restrict themselves to being in a contract with universities to purchase given numbers of student places.

"Equally, of course, universities, as autonomous institutions, should be able to decide whether they wish to take student numbers and fee levels as offered by government.

"Removal of control numbers and the associated clawback arrangements would allow universities to offer places on programmes to home or EU students currently denied access, provided they satisfy entry requirements."

It said this would "start to rebalance the relationship between governments and universities, and opens up the possibility of universities developing another channel for income growth".

In other words, Love is seeking to make universities even less accountable than they already are.

And they still get public funding.

Anyone stupid enough to buy into that concept!

Universities Scotland director Alastair Sim said:

"There are some interesting ideas in the Fraser of Allander paper.

"But as four of the five main parties have now ruled out contributions of any kind from students or graduates, the focus now needs to be on Scotland's politicians stepping up to the mark to find the public funding necessary to keep our Scottish universities competitive with those in England."

He added:

"Our greatest concern about another review of Scotland's universities is that it cannot be allowed to delay the urgent need to plug the funding gap that will start to emerge between Scotland and England's universities from next year.

"Preventing that from happening will need immediate action after the election."

Universities Scotland is nothing but a PR vehicle set up to appear as an ‘independent’ voice.

It is nothing more than a front, window dressing which makes up a network of other similar ‘independent’ bodies whose members are all in universities.

One thing they all have in common, is no vision to reform the higher education sector, everything these people produce has a few simple aims, keep the corrupt status quo, transfer the money problem to the students and have other do their work for them.

Simply put they aren’t bright enough to solve their own problems.

Love says on the University of Birmingham Business School website:

‘I’m interested in supervising PhDs in the following areas, mainly of a quantitative nature:

Knowledge flows and MNE performance
Exporting, innovation and productivity
The innovation value chain and firm performance
open innovation and innovation in services

Sounds good till you read what he is selling in his report!

In higher education, ‘all roads lead to Rome’ and Professor Love’s ‘Rome’ is the student paying.

It seems there is a lot of ‘sheep’ in Rome at present, few Shepherds though guiding the flock in the right direction.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


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