According to the Times Higher Education supplement, the downturn in global economies is about to have the unfortunate knock-on effect on Universities, they’re going bust!
In today’s article “I’m afraid it’s very bad news” the news isn’t good for staff and students in a reported 30 Higher Education institutions could go under next year.
Whilst the Times article is based on a report from the accounting firm Grant Thorton, and therefore ignores many of the larger and wider implications this will have to staff and students, the Times has concentrated on the discussions on staff pay.
It is disturbing that one avenue open to UK HE Institution, and being offered as a (temporary?) solution is to accept more overseas students in favour of home-grown talent, and quite rightly “inadvertently fuelling xenophobia” that is already simmering under the surface.
What is also disturbing is that the recommendations are that universities “put business interests first, ahead of the core activities of research and teaching, and shunting the academics aside”. This could be extremely costly as at Bournemouth and other ‘new’ Universities, the transition to modern research-led Institution is already well under way.
“Unfortunately, it seems, our institutions make very poor patients: too complex and too slow to be able to respond quickly to a turn for the worse.”
Interestingly enough, you ought to read this other Times HE article, “Change or perish, institutions told“, where there is more information about just what Grant Thorton advised the Times on the “series of financial hurdles that universities must clear”, these being;
- cuts to government funding
- the growing burden of debt repayments
- pension and pay commitments
- a potential drop in international and domestic student numbers
It seems education is not the safest place to work out a recession anymore.