Article in the FT presaging government announcements about making it easier for new private players in the HE market. I don’t necessarily disagree about new entrants, as there are lots of things HE does, that is does not do well; and conversely it does other things amazingly well, and they are in real danger. But this stuck in my throat:
A green paper Jo Johnson, universities minister, last November proposed a clearer and faster trajectory for providers to award their own degrees and to secure the university title. Existing rules force new institutions to be operating for at least eight years before they can apply to become a university. That is often too long for investors to back a project. [my emphasis]
Just contrast this with the FT’s own Martin Wolf’s comments in an article he wrote a few weeks back.
An immediate concern, however, is whether the conditions for a competitive market exist. Special institutions have long provided higher education, for good reasons. By definition, students cannot understand what they are buying: that is what makes them students. The value of what they obtain is likely to become evident over many years. They rely on reputation. They must believe, therefore, that the institution cares about its reputation. That is why the longevity of these institutions is so vital.
We have a society that is now being reshaped around a short term financialisation model, the only purpose of which appears to be, to subjugate societal advance to capital — while missing out on the goals of invention, utility or advance. This activity is essentially what biologists call parasitism: and in some systems, the burden of parasites may occupy most of the biomass. The worm ouroboros, continues to devour itself.