Wednesday, 23 December 2009

English university cuts

Where might these lead?

As the Britsih economy slides inexorably down the pan the Government has announced its first major cutback in public services in England. With what some might regard as characteristic gutlessness, this has been announced as most people affected will have 'vanished' for their long mid-winter holiday.

This first public-sector contraction avoids the political shibboleths within 'schools and hospitals' and instead takes out a far softer political target, university education or, as the Government seems increasingly to understand this, training for future jobs (jobs, what jobs?).

This could have profound potential implications for the future of initial preparation of conductors in the United Kingdom. Somebody who is a minister suggests predents thepresent official vision of higher 'university education' in England in the light of announced cuts of £398m for 2010-11 compared with this year.

Teaching is protected because this government recognises that a high quality student experience with excellent teaching and research is vital to maintaining the world-class higher education we enjoy in this country today.

Fast-track, part-time and two-year degrees do not represent a reduction in quality in the higher education offer, but an increase in choice for the would-be learner.

In the current economic climate, it was not a question of whether efficiencies should be made, but of where the efficiencies should be found.

As an individual, I am so pleased that I do not have to spend my foreseeable future working out what to do in response to this. As a concerned citizen, however...

Of course, this affects only the England. Perhaps you live somewhere else, less ill-managed or more enlightened (could these two factors possibly be interrelated, I ask myself). In that case your only problem here lies in the as yet unknowable answer to the following:
  • is this just another example of the this county's dropping out of the foremost ranks of the major economies
  • or is England leading the way, a way that others may themselves have to follow?

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