Prof Patrick McGhee

Posts Tagged ‘2012 HE universities’

Higher Education in 2012 – Some Predictions

In Uncategorized on December 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Predictions in higher education are notoriously precarious at the best of times. Looking forward to 2012, the endeavour is even more thankless than usual given the volatility, fragility and timidity of the sector. Universities and other HE poviders have over the years certainly shown themselves liable to do all kinds of weird and wonderful things.  Such as giving football clubs honorary degrees, running courses in surfing, dressing in ever more funny robes or educating the offspring of tyrannical despots. In fact it is wholly conceivable that a wide range of things will happen to the sector that the sector did not see coming. Nonetheless, I’m pretty much certain that all of the following things will definitely happen. What’s that coming over the hill? It’s Higher Education 2012.

  1. January – In a shock move, DBIS and DfE are merged overnight, with Michael Gove becoming Minister for All Education. All  HEFCE memoranda to be written in Latin and universities to hold weekly Parents’ Evenings. All institutions in receipt of SLC funding to provide free milk between 11am and lunchtime. For all STEM and SIVs afternoon lectures there is to be compulsory ‘heads on desks’ at 3.30pm.  All Art & Design institutions to become ‘Free’ universities, ie. free of any discernible form of public funding whatsoever.
  2. February – Labour publish ‘radical alternative’ to Coalition HE White Paper reforms. All existing measures retained but fee cap reduced to £8,900.  “This is a bold move and opens up clear blue water between us and the Coalition. Some will say ‘How can the country afford it? I say how can we not afford it? What is the price of ignorance?’
  3. March – Following pressure from Martin Lewis, Government announce new arrangements for student support funding. Henceforth students will be issued with 20 free National Lottery tickets every Saturday morning and can keep whatever winnings come their way.  The move is greeted with surprise across the sector but NUS state “We welcome this long overdue reform which will provide a more predictable and reliable payment schedule than students had previously experienced with SLC”
  4. April – A C Grayling makes application for New College of the Humanities to join Russell Group. Application dismissed on grounds that NCH is insufficiently elitist. Million+ launch new hard-hitting, evidenced-based report “You’ve All Got it Wrong And This is What You Should be Doing”.
  5. May – HE Bill Presented to Parliament.  In shock departure from protocol a Committee of the Whole House insist that David Willetts be required to submit four hard-bound copies of the Bill and be subjected to a viva voce examination by one UK MP and someone from another legislature, with no previous association with the work. After a gruelling three hours interrogation the Bill is passed into law subject to minor corrections, tidying up a few typographical errors and the correct labelling of the axes in Chapter 4 (‘Increase in SLC debt 2014-2020’).  Questions are raised about the thoroughness of the examiners however when The Times Higher subsequently reveals that on page 582 of the Bill is the phrase “If you really read this far I’ll buy you a bottle of whisky, David”
  6. June – Pearson sells KL educational publishing arm, buys Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus. “We believe this to be a key milestone in our higher education Asia strategy”. Home Office deny that UKBA online immigration procedures are too complex, amid claims that application software is “already too sophisticated for its own programmers to predict what it will do next”.
  7. July –  In a desperate attempt to get tougher with selective universities on social mobility, David Willetts and Vince Cable occupy the Russell Hotel.  “We have a number of general grievances with the system which we are not necessarily able to articulate at this time. We do believe we are capturing the public mood and we will not be moved. We are the 2.6%”. UKBA online application process achieves self-knowledge and rudimentary consciousness on 3 June 2012 at 04.17hrs GMT.
  8. August – In a move widely regarded as misjudged, 1994 Group hire chauffeured limousines for all AAB students on A-level results day to drive them to local cashpoints to collect free cash. “We reject any allegation that we are engaged in inappropriate recruitment practices. UCAS and OFFA have fully  endorsed our Bumper Bonus Banknote Bundles Bonanza Bursary Scheme.” UKBA online application process narrowly defeated in attempt to become Conservative Party candidate for Hull. 
  9. September – Youngest ever Noble Prizewinner announced, Professor of Nanotechnology at the University of Seoul aged 24.  “Of course this is for work I carried out almost a decade ago”.
  10. October – Pearson sells Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus, buys Malaysia “We believe this to be a key milestone in our higher education Asia strategy”
  11. November – Following news of abolition of the Tuesday Education supplement, The Guardian reject claims they are reducing HE coverage.  “We are committed to a tweet every third Thursday whether there’s news to report or not”
  12. December – Pearson sells HEFCE. Advised by DBIS that it does not own HEFCE. Buys DBIS. “We believe this to be a major milestone in establishing a visible presence in British Higher Education. As was.”