HE Bill defeated in Lords after peers react to “marketisation” reform fears

first_imgHe told Cherwell: “Of course it’s true that students, who now pay large sums of money for their education, deserve fi rst class teaching. This Bill, and the new bureaucracies it creates, will do nothing to encourage that.”Patten also raised fears that plans to create an ‘Office for Students’ could threaten the ancient autonomy of Oxford, Cambridge, and other universities.Macdonald said: “It is essential that our universities retain their autonomy and academic freedom from government control. This is key to their integrity and to the respect that they command world wide. But the Higher Education Bill threatens all this by placing universities more directly under the direction of Whitehall”.Kennedy said: “I want reassurances on the face of the bill that government will preserve the Haldane principle that politicians do not interfere in choices for research.“I understand and support efforts to improve teaching, as some universities neglect student teaching, but we have to protect the Oxford system.”The bill seeks to implement the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which would operate through the National Student Survey (NSS). This week OUSU encouraged students to boycott the survey.The decision in the Lords follows student campaigns against the bill over the past months.In a statement to Cherwell, Eden Bailey, OUSU VP for Academic Affairs, said: “As the uproar from the House of Lords demonstrates, the heavy criticism of the government’s HE Bill is not unique to students.“From academics to university chancellors, those with experience in the sector believe the Bill threatens everything from access to Higher Education, quality of teaching, attractiveness of British universities to international students, to British universities being able to secure vital funding for research.”Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Oxford, said to Cherwell that the bill “presents both opportunities and risks for UK university research.”While praising the bill’s attempts to “join up” research, he warned that “there are risks in implementing changes to a system that already delivers more influential research per pound spent than any other in the world, while any reduction in the independence of the formerly separate research councils must not come at the expense of their ability to support ambitious discipline-specific research.”A spokesperson for the Department of Education insisted that it was “listening carefully to the views of students, universities, academics and parliamentarians”.She said: “We want more young people to have the opportunity to access a high-quality university education, and the measures proposed in the Higher Education and Research Bill are critical to making this possible.” The government’s controversial plans to make it easier for new profit-making universities to award degrees have been rejected by the House of Lords.The defeat follows criticisms of the higher education and research bill from Oxford college principals and senior academics, who claim it threatens academic independence by “advancing an ideologically driven marketisation” of the universities sector.In reaction to the success of the amendment, one of over 500 which have been tabled, Oxford Chancellor Lord Patten told Cherwell: “Heaven knows what will eventually emerge [of the bill] but it is likely to be very different then. We will see what happens back in the Commons.”Patten intervened last week, calling the bill “ham-fisted” and threatening “the true value of an independent university” in an article for The Observer.Speaking to Cherwell, Mansfield Principal Baroness Kennedy, a Labour peer, said she would support the amendment to the bill to prevent “the whole underlying marketisation of higher education.”Kennedy compared the bill’s plans to make it easier for new institutions to offer degrees, become universities and make a profit from student fees, to Donald Trump’s attempts at entering the higher education sector in the USA.She said: “America went down this road of letting businessmen set up private profit- making universities and it has led to many scandals of poor quality and exploitation of students as we saw with Trump University which led to Trump being sued.”Her comments were mirrored by Wadham Warden Lord Macdonald, a Liberal Democrat peer. He warned that the bill risks “advancing an ideologically driven marketisation that will make standards the servant of commerce.”last_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter Air France this week in

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterAir France this week inaugurated its completely revamped and more spacious lounge at Washington-Dulles International Airport in the United States.Available to Air France La Première and Business customers and Flying Blue Elite Plus members, the facility now features a more elegant and modern setting. Spanning a total surface area of 615 square metres, on two levels, the lounge can accommodate up to 155 customers.At the heart of the lounge, a new dining area has been offering business customers on the daily 21:10 AF027 flight from Washington to Paris-Charles de Gaulle the Night Service.The Night Service anticipates customers’ need to enjoy a good night’s sleep on night flights. They can enjoy the same gourmet French meal in the airport lounge as the one served on board. A full meal comprising a starter, hot dish, cheese, dessert and a wines and Champagnes list is served at their table.During the flight, customers can enjoy a good night’s sleep in the comfort of the business class cabin. A quiet, private cabin, with the guarantee of a peaceful night’s sleep in a seat that transforms into a lie-flat bed. When they awake, when the French coast looms on the horizon, breakfast is served before landing at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.Dressed in a lacquered metal structure and completely open to the lounge, the bar offers a selection of wines, Champagnes and spirits, served by a bartender. For the first time in an Air France lounge, customers can also enjoy cold draught beers.As part of its ongoing effort to offer its customers the best possible service, the company has also revamped its dining area to highlight French gourmet cuisine.Designed in the spirit of a Parisian brasserie, new furnishings and circular benches have been custom-designed to provide conviviality and comfort. Customers can enjoy a self-service buffet with a cold, sweet and savoury selection.The second level offers customers a genuinely cosy environment. In a relaxing light-filled atmosphere, where light screens perfectly mimic sunlight and the colour of the sky, customers can relax comfortably in chaises lounges or other seating of their choice.Go back to the enewsletterlast_img read more