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.

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18 Comments on “The global impact of higher education policies”

  1. copernicus Says:

    You can’t let go your “hobby horse” of English tuition fee model and your chestnut of arts and humanities not being supported, can you! Except me, no one in England is reading your blog! I accessed this blog when I was drawn atention to a new VC appointment at RGU, and the clip that this VC has a blog. No one else I know has heard about this blog, hee in England so far. As I was saying THE (Times Higher) blog is influential to some extent and there too the discussion are quietened down.

    Yet again you quote, some outsider a VC in Australia, not from the Australia’s eight, I might add. If the English universities, adapting Browne report want to go down the route recommended to him, that is their provilege. If you think you are influencing the debate in HE in England, you may relax, the debate is coming to a close as the House of Lord’s vote was unexpectedly smooth. There will be a few adjustments here and there. What is surprising is that these days you have no other topic to discuss at length except the English tuition fee model,and the more you do, the more you will be perceived as a foreigner trying to be too clever. It might also not chime well with your governors at RGU (I should draw your attention here the VCs of the top 2 universities in Scotland have not made their views known publicly) as they are a conservative lot and do not want a politically active VC who causes waves.

    Afterall, there are reasons for Lord Browne, and his committee, who know more about English education than you do despite your few years at Hull, have determined that humanities does not need the kind of support that STEM subjects need. If you think that the top English universities will be shunned by the entire world because humanities here do not have state funding support,again relax, that is the concern of our politicians and VCs of top universities here. We will deal with our problems here as they arise.

  2. copernicus Says:

    Sorry, a few typos. My eyesight.

  3. copernicus Says:

    If you are really intersted in what Australian Universities want to do to develop a model, ask one of Australia eight’s VCs ( ANU or Melbourne as these two are leaders) and not a post-92 equivalent in Australia. But then that is what you are doing for example, yesterday Salford, now Macquarie. Previously NYT and now Aussie newspapers. But then their economy is not too booming as Gillard government has cut the funding to universities. I gave a link a few threads back. Each country funds its universities the way it wants to.

  4. copernicus Says:

    Australian universities are also in a state of flux as Austrlian Visa conditions are tightened up as the Gillard government and the opposition do not want to see a “large Australia”. The VCs of the Australian 8 are busy restructuring their universities, like Prof Byrne in Monash. Prof Byrne was medical Dean at UCL just 2 years ago.
    They do not have time to indulge in ” English tuition fee model” now. England is also tightening up its visa system for students.

  5. copernicus Says:

    Sorry that link does not work. Try this if yu are interested:

  6. Copernicus, I sent you an email yesterday – I would be grateful if you could respond, please.

  7. Perry Share Says:

    Hey C, talking to yourself now I see.

    If nobody in England (except of course you) is reading this blog, why are you subjecting the rest of us to all this stuff? If you have something personal against the owner of the blog, as you appear to, I suggest that you contact him privately yourself, as you are boring the rest of us to tears.

    • copernicus Says:

      Nothing personal, I am afraid.

    • copernicus Says:


      You have bizarre way of getting to tears. There are other issues which should bring tears to your eyes, nearer home, for example your recent cuts. I am simply responding to what Ferdinand writes and reminding him of the obsession. I suggest you simply not read what is written. Atleast I am not talking to myself as you are reading this getting to tears!!

      • Vincent Says:

        Sorry but you crossed a line from being merely tedious with your filibustering into active bullying.

        • copernicus Says:

          Here another one again! I simply ignore what you say as you have nothing to post except saying something about a boyfriend and girl friend.

        • Than Says:

          Unfortunately Copernicus cannot accept any other opinion other than his own. The fact that two people do not share the same opinion is not acceptable and if you are not an academic then again it is not acceptable. He cannot also accept any other university except Russell Group. The discussions have been very difficult here.

  8. Fred Says:

    As I yestarday frankly stated I believe that the new model will be unsustainable in the long term just as the current one proved so I won’t be surprised if new changes come in the mid-term. My question is how many universities will close or merge in the meantime. This is a game for few (universities or groups) I am afraid.

    However, it is hardly surprising that these news will be debated all over the world since the UK education system had always a great influence all around.

    • copernicus Says:


      At least you have something sensible to say without calling me an ogre! I do not like people slagging English universities as there are problems near home looming as elephants in the room.

      As far as I know this news is not grabbing the headlines in the globe. In USA as far as I know the state funding is cut to 25%, that is what my university president writes to me, in the UK it is 20%. The difference is minute but they tend to apply to all faculties. The STEM support is because of the large number of humanities graduating from new universities and old universities where as the government is issuing thousands of work permits for science graduates from outside the EU.

      As for the new model who knows what happens. Some can be very rich if he/she predicts what the situation will be. When the tuition fee 0f £3000 was introduced, the deise of HE was predicted, and it did not happen.

      Yes a few new universities will close or may be merged with others. Not bad at all.

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