In a climate of far reaching cuts in every sector the government can get its hands on, Higher Education in Britain is in for a battering over the coming years. Decreased research funding, decreased teaching budgets, and a lifting of the fee cap the only solution on the table -despite the predicted outcome of a 3 tier HE system to the benefit largely of the rich. In this context, HE needs all the help it can get.
Now, Jon Snow wears great ties. This, we British TV viewers know. He interrogates interviewees every night on the Channel 4 News with a BBC-esque air of impartiality (if slightly contrived at times). But on his blog Snow has no particular public to please and, perhaps because he assumes nobody reads it, tells us what he thinks in the rambling manner of someone who as been told blogging is the big new thing but isn’t really convinced. Happy news, then, that Snow has been putting his weight behind HE in recent weeks.
Last Wednesday Snow was at Leeds University for a review of the state of higher education when a group of protesting students burst in to the room. In Snow’s words
“What an experience! I haven’t been “live” in a student union since I was thrown out of university myself. Here we were at Leeds University last night reviewing the state of higher education with a couple of hundred students, academics, and parents when a bunch of revolting students burst in. I suddenly found myself broadcasting whilst confronted by the very people of whom once I was – a revolting student.”
He has suggested that the current cuts to HE are likely to lead to a brain drain in Britain which has been as yet unforeseen by the Treasury. This is something which the Times Higher Education magazine has been raising recently, though to an internal audience of academics. Whether it is a real danger is perhaps beside the point, not waiting to find out if threats lead to action is perhaps a better course of action.
So well done Jon Snow! God knows British Higher Education needs some supporters outside of the academy.
Categories: Higher Education