The government’s Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills has just published a strategy document entitled, ‘Higher Education at Work – High Skills: High Value’. You can read it here on the DIUS website. Quite rightly the University and College Union have been highly critical of the government’s plans to give even greater influence to business. UCU’s general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “Affording the private sector a major say in the curriculum today will mean less innovation and invention for tomorrow as university staff are forced to prioritise policy that focuses purely on the numbers game.” There is more on this in the Education Guardian here.
Communists do not just say that we must reject these proposals for the further marketisation of our education system however. We also say that the left needs to provide students with a programme for a radically different and massively democratised education system. In Communist Students’ political platform, ‘What we fight for‘, we outline the general approach that must guide us in this work. Point 5 of that platform reads: “Education must be democratised, free and aimed at developing fully rounded human beings, not exploitable office dolts. The situation where students are burdened with massive debts and forced to take paid work to get themselves through college must be ended. Students need time to think, argue, experiment and enjoy the experience of full time education. Grants must be set at a level that allow students to live a decent life.”