Wednesday, 12 May 2010

New Era

Yesterday saw the scramble to form a coalition government come to an end, and an end to Labour's 13 year run in power. I can't quite believe it all happened in one day, but there you go. 
This has been an interesting and unusual election, and we're effectively stepping into the unknown, from a political point of view. 
Surprisingly, the Conservatives have compromised on many of their policies in order to get Lib Dems on side, and this morning we woke up to the news that Clegg is deputy PM and there are 5 Lib Dems in the Cabinet. But what we're interested in here is education, and that is still an issue that is going to be a topic of debate. Both parties have admitted that there will have to be huge cuts in order to reduce the deficit and public debt, although we have been promised that these cuts will not come from 'frontline services', such as the NHS. It's unclear if higher education counts as a frontline service, but we feel that cuts in this area are inevitable, and will follow on from the trend in spending cuts that we've witnessed at our time in University.

Hopefully in the next few days we will find out who has been appointed in charge of education, and we're hoping that a more detailed version of the new government's main aims and intentions will be published shortly so we can know the fate of future students. All we do know for now is that in the run up to the election, the Conservatives were in favour of taking the cap off tuition fees, but the Lib Dems were in favour of scrapping them all together. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will find out if either party has had to compromise on this issue. 


  1. It's just been announced that The Rt. Hon. Michael Gove (that's right, he has a title), is the new education secretary. As a Conservative, he likely to push ahead and raise tuition fees, if the Browne report suggests that it's a good idea. It's still not clear what will happen though. The Browne report is still unfinished, although it is likely that it will suggest raising tuition fees or taking the cap off tuition fees altogether.

    However, now that we're in a coalition government, things aren't necessarily so straight froward. I remember reading somewhere that the Lib Dems signed a pledge with the National Union of Students to always vote against raising tuition fees. So if the Conservatives want to push ahead and raise fees, it'll be unlikely that they will have the backing of the Lib Dems, which could mean a compromise or Lib Dem MPs voting against their government. What with this being the first coalition government I have ever seen in action, I can't say wether or not it will be possible to raise tuition fees without Lib Dem backing.

    So we're still none the wiser.

  2. It was announced today that £200m will be cut from University budgets, but that's on top of the £1bn cuts that were announced before. Also, plans are underway to reduce the number of new students and scrap 'mickey mouse courses'. There has been vague speculation that budget cuts will hit areas like social sciences, the arts and business degrees the hardest, as the government is expected to ask funds to be allocated to more 'practical' degrees like medicine and traditional sciences, as well as vocational courses like teaching.