1 The Knowledge Economy.
UCU and other groups have decided to work together to urge greater investment in higher education. What do we think about the idea of the ‘knowlege economy’ and the three strands to the campaign? The link – and their mission statement – are below.
Tackling the investment deficit in tertiary education
The UK invests less in tertiary education as a proportion of GDP than many other leading economies. Latest data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that the UK’s spending on tertiary education was 1.3% of GDP, compared with the OECD average of 1.6%. Within that total, the share contributed by public spending in the UK has dropped sharply and is now the lowest bar one in the OECD.
Why have we failed?
There are many reasons, but one stands out. Too often the competing interests and demands of the various mission groups, lobby organisations, single issue campaigns and – yes – trade unions have stopped us being able to put forward one united, coherent argument.
This cannot go on. This is a new campaign across post-16 education which all organisations are invited to participate in. The campaign aims to set to one side our legitimate policy or sectional differences and focus solely on making an accessible, positive case for public investment in tertiary education. It seeks to involve not just mission and interest groups but trade media too, as well as staff and student groups.
The suggested terms of reference are as follows:
‘to raise public awareness of the contribution to society and economy made by colleges and universities; to win public support for increased state funding; and to persuade the UK governments to take a lead in raising funding for tertiary education to the OECD average of 1.6% of GDP.’
We will jointly commission three distinctive pieces of research on the case for investment. We would plan campaign and media activity around the publication of each piece of research – seeking to initiate public debate, provide a coherent, unified platform to promote investment and lobby and brief politicians.
Let’s formulate our critique of Gove’s reforms of the school curriuculum from the perspective of a radical education at our first meeting on May 7. It would be good to make this part of our reimagining education project, and it would be useful to have something ready for our meeting with Michael Fielding. Not that our imagining is simply a reaction to Gove’s proposals, but it might be a way to make some explicit statements about what is wrong about his, and right about ours! Shall we try to draft something like a public response to the proposals at the meeting?