Sun 5th Feb by Hatti Dingle
Private Universities Delayed
Plans to open up Britain’s University’s sector to private education providers are set to be put on hold. Reports published in the Daily Telegraph suggest that the Higher Education Bill in its current form is likely to be dropped or delayed but a separate bill about private university providers could be created at a later date. However, many of the headline-grabbing changes to Higher Education that the original bill covered, such as increasing tuition fees and decreasing teaching budgets, do not need further legislation for them to go ahead. It is believed that the delay in bringing in private providers of higher education is the result of pressure from the Liberal Democrats, who do not want further student protests damaging their support.
One option for the future of the bill is to break up the legislation and create a more focused bill later, which would concentrate more specifically on private providers in higher education. However, the response from students and lecturers has been mixed. The UCU supports the delay, saying that the bill would have “allowed for-profit companies increased access to UK higher education and taxpayers’ money”, but Liam Burns, NUS president accused the government of making big changes to higher education without proper parliamentary scrutiny.