By By Gordon Campbell, Council for the Defence of British Universities
“For many years I have worked at one of the 40 or so universities that describe themselves as a top-20 university. And when I entered the profession, universities – though largely independent of government – were part of the education sector.
We are now, in the eyes of government, nationalised businesses that exist to serve the economy. The Universities Minister now reports to the Business Secretary, not his counterpart in the Department for Education.
In that time, life has changed utterly for academics and students alike. The value of teaching has been downgraded without mercy, because it attracts no differential funding. When I arrived at my university, we taught our undergraduates in groups of two; the numbers have gradually increased, and now we teach them in groups of 13. This is an efficiency gain.”