As I’m writing this, we stand on the cusp of the 2015 General Election. In fact, by the time the next issue of University Business hits the desks of universities around the land, we’ll be digesting the ins and outs of our new government, whether an out-right majority for one major party or a coalition of several…
Will Greg Clark still be visiting new campus developments as Universities Minister?
Will tuition fees be heading towards £6k per annum as the Labour Party are currently promising?
And will Nicky Morgan still be pursuing a general move towards the academy and free schools programme so enthusiastically pushed by her unforgettable predecessor Mr Gove?
We don’t have the answers just yet. What we do know is that our UK education system is one to be proud of in all its guises and we must continue to invest in the future of young people in this country, particularly when it comes to promoting science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects and digital skills for the future.
Youth unemployment, although falling, should still be a major concern for any in-coming government. As Jim Hillage, Director of Research at the Institute for Employment Studies, pointed out in his recent blog for University Business, the youth unemployment rate is three times the adult rate and four out of ten unemployed people are aged under 25. An increasing proportion of graduates find themselves starting their working lives in non-graduate jobs. This is surely an issue which needs tackling head on.
One great campaign we’ve seen in the run-up to the election was the Universities UK ‘Back Universities‘ campaign which pointed out the true value of our HE system and called on our next government to close the gap between the UK’s investment in research and innovation and that of its major international competitors, work with universities to attract qualified international students and staff to the UK and develop a student funding system that is sustainable and supports affordable expansion to drive social mobility and produce the skilled graduates the economy needs.
All invaluable proposals and we now wait to see if these calls will fall on receptive ears…