The global impact of higher education policies
Yesterday the British House of Lords also approved the new system of higher education financing for England, by a comfortable majority. Therefore it is now expected that in 2012 universities will be able to charge fees of up to £9,000. Actually, more accurately I should say that universities will be able to set a rate (up to a maximum of £9,000) for tuition that will, in many cases, be recovered from students some time after graduation.
In a sign of how such major policy adjustments can have an immediate global effect, the new English model has been the subject of discussion in a number of countries, including Australia. In this article in The Australian newspaper the possible impact on higher education strategy is considered, though the writer concludes that because of a booming economy the Austrtalian government may not want to go down the same road as in England.
The same article also reports that the Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University, Professor Steven Schwartz (mentioned here in a recent post), is asking some important questions about the English policy decision of not providing state funding for the humanities. He said that ‘even in narrow economic terms, the strong record of arts and humanities in driving the creative media industries should encourage policy-makers to question the wisdom of preferencing some disciplines over others.’
The debate about higher education funding is now becoming a global debate, and it is not unlikely that a global model will emerge. It is unlikely to be a model under which university studies are funded entirely by general taxation.