The Times, Dec. 23rd 2009, p.1&5
Lord Mandelson has further slashed university budgets. Universities have already been asked to asked to save £180 million in the next 18 monthls, but have now been told that funding will be cut by a further £135 million. Mandelson has suggested 2 year degree courses as a money saving measure. It is expected that university departments across the country will close and that students will have to pay higher tuition fees to receive a lower quality of education, in larger classes and with reduced teaching staff.
(See also The Guardian, Dec. 23rd 2009, p.8; The Independent, Dec. 23rd 2009, p. 1&7; Daily Telegraph, Dec. 23rd 2009, p. 1+2)
The Guardian, Dec. 4th 2009, p. 19
The chairman of the Home Office's Migration Advisory Committee, Professor David Metcalf, has said he was 'stunned' to discover during a review that more than 600 colleges could grant two-year work and residence visas to overseas students who had completed their courses. This was despite these colleges not being 'proper universities' and having their degrees validated by one of the universities.
Daily Telegraph, Dec. 7th 2009, p. 15
A report by the think tank Demos which calls for university students to complete 100 hours of community service as part of their degrees has been endorsed by David Lammy, Higher Education Minister. The report suggests that interest rates on student loans should rise to generate the £450m a year needed to run the scheme. It also calls for service learning to become a compulsory part of the curriculum for seven to 16-year-olds. This could include cleaning up a river bank as part of a science class, while older pupils could be encouraged to mentor primary school children.
International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 23, 2009, p. 553-563
This article reports on an exploratory study conducted in six universities in the UK selected from the Russell pre-1992 group, the post-1994 group and former colleges of higher education (HE). The study had three interrelated aims: how internationalisation is conceptualised in the study institutions; the available evidence for its structural integration into the university services; and understanding the perceived challenges institutions face in the quest to integrate the idea as a broad strategic element of those institutions. The research found that there are a range of distinct barriers which work against the full integration of the concept into institutional cultures. These include: conceptual and structural deficiencies in the organisation of institutional internationalisation; over emphasis on human exchange initiatives over cultural integration efforts; and increasing undercurrents of feelings among staff and students of global attention at the expense of local neglect.
The Guardian, Dec. 7th 2009, p. 6
A study by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) questioned 2,777 international students who applied for a student visa between July and September and found that two-fifths of the students had experienced difficulties or encountered 'errors or obstructions' that had put them off studying in Britain or resulted in them being refused visas. According to Home Office figures, overseas students contribute £8.5bn a year to the British economy and their fees amount to 8% of the total income of British universities.
The Independent, Dec. 8th 2009, p. 18
The panel conducting the Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance, which is reviewing university fees and funding, will hold public hearings in early 2010. The seven member panel, which includes university vice-chancellors, will look in particular at the impact of the introduction of variable tuition fees and changes to student finance in 2006.