David Ridley is a Lecturer in Media Theory at Coventry University and is also currently finishing his Ph.D in Sociology at the University of Birmingham. His thesis is an exploration of the possibility of a grassroots sociology that could contribute to radical democracy, and the limitations imposed by neoliberalism and the marketisation of higher education. David is Branch Secretary of Coventry University UCU and has been involved in campaigns around casualisation, the use of subsidiary companies and most recently the civic responsibilities of post-92 universities.
The Green Paper on Higher Education in England has been at the heart of UCU discussions since first published in November 2015. Although Education is a matter devolved to the administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, many of the proposals have knock-on implications for the devolved nations.
The briefing below is a condensed version of an original document for Coventry UCU, downloadable here.
As this is a long article, we have put plenty links in to allow you to navigate successfully!
Here is a link to a 9 Bullet Point summary
This report is intended to give UCU members an analysis of the recent Green Paper, which was (it is now closed and the results are being processed) an ‘open consultation’ on the future of Higher Education. The Green Paper not only outlines the much anticipated Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), but also aggressively pursues some of the other aspects of ‘marketisation’ that were first introduced in Lord Browne’s 2010 Review, whose suggestions were subsequently ‘cherry picked’ for the 2011 White Paper, Students at the Heart of the System. Primarily, the function of this briefing is to help give a sense of what the future may holds for the sector if the government is successful.
The briefing is critical: (1) in terms of its stance towards marketisation as a whole and (2) in terms of engaging with the emerging critical views on the Green Paper from commentators. For maximum ‘impact’, the briefing has been divided into three main themes: marketisation, the Teaching Excellence Framework, and plans to further ‘open up the system’ to ‘alternative providers’ and remove the public interest from higher education altogether.
This briefing seeks to provide an alternative point of view and grounding for action in the coming year as the discussion around the future of HE continues. It is hoped that this report will help open up a constructive dialogue between the UCU branch committees, members we seek to represent, and those who can influence the future of H.E.
The briefing is a further demonstration that the UCU is the only voice for democracy in an increasingly anti-democratic academic landscape, both locally and nationally. Continue reading