The Guardian,
Universities minister Greg Clark rules out increasing tuition fees

“Speaking to vice-chancellors at Universities UK’s annual conference in Leeds, Clark said the current £9,000 fee ‘broadly covers the cost of education for most courses in most institutions and there are arrangements to support high-cost courses.’ He said he’s ‘not persuaded’ by the argument for raising fees to take into account increased costs.”

Read the full article on The Guardian website.

The Independent,
OECD: UK graduates ‘lacking high-level literacy skills’

“Figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show the majority of students are completing higher education courses without good levels of literacy … The study – comparing standards in 34 countries – also found that British adults with qualifications no higher than A-levels performed better in comparison with their peers internationally than those who had been through university.

More students, many less well prepared for university studies will restrain the benefits of higher education.  More intensive skills development is probably needed early in the university programme to help these new entrants develop fully.

Read the full article on The Independent website.

The Guardian,
The end for Ulu

Michael Chessum (University of London Union president) on the end of the union:

“But this development is neither accidental nor senseless: it is the result of a marketising higher education system which is run by cliques of senior managers and former academics who have, increasingly, no basic loyalty to their institutions, their students or to any meaningful conception of education as a public good.”

Those who fear that, in the longer run, the study body will be fully incorporated into the corporate university are right to do so.

The demise of universities as places where young people can learn to participate in political action is unfortunate and will diminish the quality of both university life and of society more generally. Higher education ought to train students for full participation in society, not just the economy.

Read the full article on The Guardian website.

Related tweets:@michael_chessum
The Guardian,
Student loan sale U-turn ‘likely to cost £12bn’

This only tells part of the story:

“The decision to abandon the sale of the student loan book is likely to cost the government £12bn over the next five years and will require a review of the public finances, Graham Parker, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), told the Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday.”

What is true and certain is that £12 billion has been booked as likely proceeds from the sale of a tranche of student debt and that needs to be reversed (the, so called, ‘cost’).

However, it is not certain that the government should have reasonably expected to swap the tranche of student debt in question for £12 billion in cash. This was only likely if buyers were also guaranteed a minimum return, something that would have cost the government year after year.

It is quite possible that cancelling the sale will be a net benefit to government: no transaction costs, expensive fees to bankers, etc. and no synthetic hedge to guarantee returns. Moreover, keeping the debt on the government’s books is a constant reminder that graduate employability cannot be neglected.

Read the full article on The Guardian website.

Related tweets:@GiftedPhoenix, @EricGordy