Sunday, 13 February 2011

The Latest Attempt to Destroy Our Universities

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Destruction of British Universities over the last few decades, but I had not expected another assault on their academic standing to come quite so quickly.

Last week Nick Clegg announced that Oxford and Cambridge, in particular, would not be allowed to charge fees of more than £6000 unless they offer places to more people from poorer and disadvantaged backgrounds. At no point did he seem to be remotely concerned about the academic ability of the students that the government proposed to require Oxbridge and other Russell Group universities to accept - simply that they must come from certain sectors of society that are currently under-represented at the best universities. The fact that, for example, Cambridge University has already said that it will use some of the money from the higher fees to reduce fees and provide bursaries for students from poorer families, and that the rest will barely compensate for the dramatic reduction in state funding already announced by the government, was obviously of no concern to the Deputy Prime Minister in his self-proclaimed push for social engineering.

In yesterday's Daily Telegraph Simon Heffer spelled out most eloquently how the government's policy would destroy our universities, describing it as an evil proposal that verges on the wicked. Strong words, to be sure, but the destruction of the academic excellence built up over more than 800 years justifies such language. Anyone who cares for the future of our country and the academic excellence of its best universities must surely bring pressure on their MP to stop this insane vendetta against one of the few remaining areas of excellence in our educational system.

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