Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Britain decides to emulate USian University Epic Fail

Eagleton on a new, private university in London:

If a system of US-type private liberal arts colleges like this one gains ground in Britain, the result will be to relegate an already impoverished state university system to second-class status. So far, British society has held the view that the education of doctors, teachers, social workers and so on is too momentous a matter to be left to the vagaries of the profit motive. This is why though there are already one or two private universities in the country, nobody has a clue where they are. This new college, however, could be the thin end of an ugly wedge. Why should Grayling, Dawkins and their chums care about that, though, when they will be drawing down mega-salaries for what is reported to be an extremely modest amount of lecturing?

In the US, getting yourself a decent education depends in part on the whims of the well-heeled. It is they who decide whether to obtain their tax breaks by donating a new theatre or lab to your college, or whether to find some more devious way of avoiding the inland revenue. This new venture in Bloomsbury is said to be backed by multimillion pound funding from private investors. While the Graylings and Colleys spout on in the classrooms about humane values, they are in the pay of those who would not recognise such things if they were to move into their living rooms.

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