University should be a place for students to realise their potential, develop their knowledge in a field while they prepare to enter the workforce. These institutions are also vital breeding grounds for developing critical thought, creativity, and academic exploration.
The proposal from the Office for Students (OfS) to cut funding by 50% to "high-cost subject[s] ... in performing and media studies and archaeology" destroys this essence of the university experience. We have already heard of the government’s intention to place a stronger emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics as a response to the economic and labour market. This was a particular concern of ours and this proposal is likely to see widespread cuts to courses across UK higher education and lead to university becoming more exclusive than it already is.
Further reducing academia to perceived future economic viability feeds the issue of siloisation and marketisation in higher education, causing dissonance amongst subjects and harming the inter-disciplinary work which universities and students are trying harder each year to establish and maintain. The OfS proposal also disregards the economic contributions of creative industries, and therefore students who engage in the related economic activity, which in 2018 contributed £111.7b to the UK economy (Gov.uk, 2020).
The OfS is currently running a consultation on these proposals ending today. We will be opposing the proposals, and if you would like us to include your views in our response, please email Callum.Perry@uea.ac.uk
Office for Students consultation: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/consultation-on-recurrent-funding-for-2021-22/