In Defence of Public Higher Education: the real alternative

Education Activist Network Steering Committee is one of the hundreds of groups, associations, academics, students and others who have signed a document, launched by the Guardian today, to defend Higher Education in the face of government proposals to privatise it.

As well as a hugely convincing attack on the government’s plans, the document sets out nine propositions in defence of universities as a public good.

These state, among other things, that universities have public as well as private benefits, that they are central to building confidence in public debate, that they promote social equality, and that the term ‘university’ refers to a distinctive institution, with the characteristics above, and thus needs to be safeguarded.

Most striking of all, from the Coalition government’s perspective, is the powerful economic critique of their White Paper reforms. ‘In Defence of Public Higher Education’ outlines the contributions universities make locally and globally to the world economy.

With its mixture of strong argument in defence of the autonomy of universities (and other HEIs) and of the academics and students who teach, research and study there, its vision of the university as central to democracy and the critical scrutiny of politics, business and institutions, and its devastating critique of the government’s economic rationale for fee increases and privatisation-oriented reforms, this document serves as a firm foundation for the campaign to keep our universities open to everybody, not just the wealthy or privileged.

The Guardian reports the dire consequences of implementing the reforms contained in the White Paper here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/27/higher-education-alternative-white-paper

The members of the working party that produced the document, as well as the full list of signatories, can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/27/defence-of-higher-education-signatories

The full document can be downloaded here: http://publicuniversity.org.uk/2011/09/27/higher-education-white-paper-is-provoking-a-winter-of-discontent/

About educationactivistnetwork
The education activist network provides national coordination for trade unionists, academics, university workers and student campaigners fighting to defend jobs and education in the UK.

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