glitzfrau: (knew it all by sinsense)

I felt quite pleased with this rant I posted in [livejournal.com profile] shreena's journal re: St. Vincent Cable's claim that government-subsidised higher education is 'unaffordable', so I thought I'd post it here;

I have yet to hear the case for the 'affordability' of systematically and publicly deskilling Britain's workforce. For advertising to foreign investors that the pool of skilled labour in Britain will shrink rapidly over the next few years. For pulling investment out of poor cities highly dependent on universities for development. For consigning school leavers to years of restricted incomes and poverty.

But then, I'm not a Tory nor a Lib Dem, so I am clearly foolish in my notion that investment in higher education isn't just one of the smarter moves a developed economy can make, but an essential one. And I'm not British, so I'm sure I can't understand why it's a savvy idea to divest from higher education when everywhere else in the developed and developing world is moving towards the highest possible participation in higher education. We foolish Irish with our 70% rate of participation! See where that got us.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

london met

Sep. 4th, 2012 10:30 am
glitzfrau: (jesusgun)
I was going to post a big long rant about how angry I am that the UK Borders Agency has revoked London Metropolitan University's right to issue visas, leaving thousands of international students threatened with deportation right before the beginning of term. The The Pequod posted pretty much exactly what I think of this decision, so that's OK. One or two extra points:
  • [livejournal.com profile] biascut argues, correctly, that the whole ungodly mess is largely the result of government cuts. UKBA is woefully understaffed, and is running four months behind in issuing visas. Meanwhile, they have outsourced as much as possible of their work to universities.

  • This is the one I am furious about, and have been for three years: I am an unpaid agent of the UKBA. If you work in UK higher education, chances are you are too. Every time I fill in an attendance register for a class online, it is sent to UKBA, and if international students miss too many classes, they're liable to deportation - because of my actions. I don't know who's an EU student in my classes, and I don't want to know. I don't want to discriminate. But an EU student has the right to attend a family funeral at short notice, take time off for the Olympics, spend a morning in bed with a hangover, with no greater sanction than a bollocking from me or, at worst, suspension from studies; non-EU students get deported for that. I think that's gross. In fact, I think when I go back I have half a mind to check which students are non-EU and mark them present at every class, just because.

  • What is the result of an international headline stating 'International students at UK university to be deported through no fault of their own?' A drop in international recruitment, of course. Commentators are arguing that this is an appalling knock-on effect, that the reputational damage is irreparable, what were the government thinking? I say, if you want to know why a decision was made, look at its outcomes. Outcome: the Daily Mail is happy, racism is stoked among the population (all the discourse in the headlines is about 'genuine' versus 'fraudulent' students - just as it was last year about 'fraudulent' benefits claimants), and Johnny Foreigner is told he's jolly well not welcome in Britain. I would say that's exactly what the government wanted to achieve. Where is David Willetts, defending these students and the institution? Nowhere. That speaks for itself.

  • And ANOTHER thing: I suspect one ancillary reason why the government doesn't give a toss or is rejoicing in London Met's downfall is that they are mostly Oxbridge poshos. They can't imagine that any 'genuine' international student could possibly want to pay £30,000 to attend a dismal ex-poly like London Met. Everyone knows that genuine international students are luminaries like Aung San Su Kyi and Benazir Bhutto studying PPE at Oxbridge and glittering in the Students' Union there.

    What Brazilian would pay through the nose to do a scummy course like - ugh! - media or business studies at London Met? Only a fraudster, clearly. About time this racket was closed down, and elitist excellence restored. If the knock-on effect damages more of those so-called 'new universities', so much the better, right? They were supposed to wither away and die under the new fees regime anyway.


END OF RANT. I am cross. But oh well, the booing of George Osborne and cheering of Gordon Brown at the Paralympics last night are glorious things.

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