Socialist Worker

Tory education plans will create two-tier system

Issue No. 2266

The government’s plan to intensify competition in higher education came under renewed attack last Thursday in a Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) report.

It warns that proposals in the higher education white paper would create a two-tier university system and a wasteful “arms race”.

The report also says that government plans will end up costing the public more.

Government figures released on Sunday estimate that total student debt will rocket to £191 billion over the next four decades.

Last year the Tories had hoped to save money by replacing central funding with higher tuition fees.


But most universities are charging much higher fees than universities minister David Willetts had budgeted for, so the government has to spend much more on student loans.

The white paper has already been criticised by academics, student campaigners and the UCU lecturers’ union.

Now the Hepi report shows that Willetts has been unable to win the confidence of the university establishment.

And the Liberal Democrats, are worried too. A report from the Centre Forum thinktank published last week worries that “market failures” will fatally undermine the reforms.

The divisions in the establishment give students and education workers an opening to argue for an alternative to the market.

The task is to to build the broadest possible opposition to the white paper.

New College of Resistance conference, London, hosted by the Education Activist Network. Sunday 29 October. Go to

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Tue 23 Aug 2011, 17:58 BST
Issue No. 2266
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