If you've been keeping up with the news in the past week, you will have probably heard about the Higher Education review that the government will be undertaking over the next year.
The review of post-18 education and funding is much needed, and many welcomed the Prime Minister's admission that the current system is flawed. The year-long review intends to look at four key areas: choice, access, value for money and skills provision. However, what's concerning is that the narrow parameters of the review don't really allow for any serious overhauls or changes to be made.
At uea(su), we're against the marketisation of education and opposed the introduction of the £9000+ fees that students now pay to attend University. This review will look at tuition fees, but is very unlikely to recommend axing them altogether. Options that have been suggested include cutting or freezing fees, and one of the more controversial proposals is that fees could vary between courses. The variation in course prices would be based on the cost of putting a course on, potential graduate earnings and the economic value to the country; creating a tiered system that is divisive and encourages further competition that will likely only damage the HE sector in the long term.
We all benefit from an educated society and therefore the government needs to be willing to invest in education so that everyone, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to attend University.
We can only wait and see how the review pans out and what is recommended, but it is disappointing to see before it has started that its' remit is so narrow. In addition, there is no student representation on the review's panel, casting doubt on its ability to put students interests at its core.
The HE review is a real opportunity to make change and solve the big issues facing students, however, it remains to be seen what action will actually be taken and there won't be any big changes soon. As a Union we will keep you updated on any decisions made that will affect you.