A piece I originally wrote for The Disorder of Things has been reposted by Times Higher Education here.
My favourite paragraphs as a teaser:
The peculiarity of the UK Higher Education system is that it combines the worst aspects of the market with the worst aspects of the state. With increasing marketisation, we see fluctuations based on demand and supply, compelling irrational short-termism. With government policy, wild fluctuations in funding regimes compel the same thing, coupled with atrocious bureaucracy and regulation, which apparent rises in inverse proportion to public funding.
The Hefce cuts will appear mild in comparison with a projected 40 per cent cut in departmental spending to 2020, which will inevitably fall on universities in some, yet again, as-yet-unspecified manner. And simultaneously, the government seeks to impose a “Teaching Excellence Framework” that cannot, under any imaginable scenario, actually improve teaching, but will actually undermine education while increasing compliance costs.
We have all the mindless bureaucracy of the Soviet university system, without any of the predictability and stability.