The NY Times announces that British Universities can expect the government to cut about 80% from the funding of teaching and 25% from research. The cuts will need to be made up from tuition, which was the subject of the Browne report. What’s discussed below is the next report, due out 10/20 (or, in the UK, 20/10).
For months, Britain’s universities have warned in apocalyptic terms about the devastating cuts they face as part of the government’s grand plan to reduce public-sector costs. Now, with the government poised next week to announce its spending plans, their worst fears seem about to come true.
The source of information appears to be an interview with Prof. Steve Smith, who is both president of Universities U.K., which represents Britain’s higher-learning institutions, and vice chancellor of the University of Exeter. The Times Higher Education reported on Oct. 15:
The president of Universities UK has told vice-chancellors to expect cuts of £4.2 billion in the government’s spending review – and warned that a huge funding gap is a “terrible danger”.
Steve Smith writes in an email to all vice-chancellors that Lord Browne of Madingley’s review of higher education funding and student support, published this week, forecasts a teaching grant of £700 million.
Such a sum would be a huge reduction from the current Higher Education Funding Council for England teaching grant of £3.9 billion – a cut of £3.2 billion, or 82 per cent.
“Cuts in the order of £1 billion for research also appear to be proposed,” Professor Smith says.
Smith, quoted by the NY Times:
Professor Smith of Universities U.K. said such drastic cuts in government spending were not necessary. Speaking of Prime Minister David Cameron’s notion of “the big society,” he said, “When they say the big society, they mean the small state.”
He added, “I think they’re cutting the university sector because they can, and I think that’s terribly damaging for the future of the country.”
“As far as I’m concerned, this is philistinism on a large scale,” said Paul Cottrell, the head of policy at the University and College Union, which represents teachers in higher education. Some universities may have to abolish subjects in the humanities, Mr. Cottrell said. “The alternative is to cut costs,” he said, “but as soon as you do that you get a reputation for poor quality, and you lose your overseas students pretty quickly.”
So it’s M&O (maintenance and operations) or humanities departments. Well, that seems to be easy, but let’s start putting scare quotes around the terms for high education, such as “university”.