Shocked and silent

There is more change going on now in higher education than I have seen in many years. A fundamental restructuring of power relationships is being reflected in new organs of governance and finance. The Higher Education and Research Bill and the Office for Students (OFS), which it will bring about sees the end of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and the amalgamation in Wales and Scotland of tertiary education finance into a single system. As I wrote here:

I expect England, along with Scotland (already) and Wales (very soon) will have a common, but possibly chaotic regulatory and funding framework for post-compulsory (“tertiary”) education including a plethora of new providers (many private) and new awards including Degree Apprenticeships. But difference, hierarchy and competition will persist and be generated within and between institutions, nations and firms (or syndicates or enterprises).

Conceiving of and structuring education as a service to be delivered by providers through a market to be regulated rather than as a right to be guaranteed to all people by and for society may invite questions. Are rights “assumed”, therefore firms may justly take over?

About the author

George Roberts

George has been at Oxford Brookes since 2000 and joined OCSLD in June 2006 as an Educational Developer (e-Learning). In his previous role he advised the Head of e-Learning and the Senior Management Team of the University on policy for off-campus e-learning and e-learning partnerships.

He leads the MA Education (Higher Education) and teaches on the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (PCTHE) as well as conducting Course Design Intensives (CDIs) and other educational development activities: workshops and consultancies.

He leads the organisation of the annual Brookes Learning and Teaching Conference (BLTC) and is Managing Editor of the Higher Education Journal of Learning and Teaching.

George is a visiting Lecturer at Cranfield University and a Visiting Fellow of Edge Hill University.

He wrote his doctorate (July 2011) at the University of Southampton on biographical narratives of adult users of a community IT centre on a large social housing estate.

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