UNISON has written to MPs to express deep concern about the Higher Education and Research Bill being debated in Parliament today (Tuesday).
The Bill, currently in its second reading, is explicitly focused on driving up competition and choice in Higher Education in England, at a time when the sector is already facing deep uncertainty around funding, research, staffing and students in the wake of Brexit.
UNISON has told MPs that the reputation and achievements of UK higher education has been built on the principles of education as a public good, collaboration and raising excellence. The Government should be focused on enhancing these qualities and enabling more students and learners to participate rather than focus on increased marketisation and competition between institutions.
UNISON is calling for greater parliamentary scrutiny of the bill, particularly around an increased role by for-profit providers and further rises in tuition fees.
Since tuition fees were raised in 2011 the number of part time students has dropped by 38%, a worrying fall as part-time studying is known to increase the life-chances of students and their families.