Des Freedman and Michael Bailey, authors of The Assault on Universities: a Manifesto for Resistance, joined a flurry of letter writing in the Guardian against the New College of Humanities where students will pay £18,000 a year for ‘special tuition’ from celebrity academics such as AC Grayling, Richard Dawkins and Niall Ferguson. They write:
AC Grayling comments that the faculty of his New College of the Humanities have ‘served our time’ in publicly funded higher education. This is a strange and disingenuous reason for joining the rush to private higher education that is expected to be sanctioned in the forthcoming higher education white paper. Grayling and co will now be joining forces with for-profit companies like the Apollo Group. The latter is under investigation by US authorities over its ‘recruiting, admissions and financial aid practices’.
Instead of bowing down to the inevitability of a privatised university system, Grayling should stand with those resisting its introduction and rediscover one of the true objectives of the humanities: to ask tough questions about power and privilege.
Visit the Guardian to read the other letters.
Over at Open Democracy Des Freedman gives an outline of the arguments and demands about the future of Higher Education raised in the book:
We should not be focused simply on tuition fees or the details of funding formulae. We need to think about what kind of institutions we want our universities to be: competitors for the provision of ‘employer-led’ skills, depositories for the cash of the sons and daughters of international dictators, adjuncts of corporate research, finishing schools for the rich? Or places that deliver independent, critical and relevant knowledge that has been demonstrated again and again to benefit not just individual students but society as a whole?
Visit Open Democracy to read the article in full.
A Manifesto for Resistance
Edited by Michael Bailey and Des Freedman
Sharp, informed essays take on the governments agenda of university cuts and fee increases, and outline an alternative manifesto for higher education.
“The corporatising of universal education is one of the most insidious and dangerous attacks on the very notion of human rights. This book calls us to arms. Every student, every educator who cares should read it.” – John Pilger
“This is an essential book. The future of our universities is up for grabs and the manifesto will play a huge role in providing alternatives at a time when the government says there aren’t any.” – Clare Solomon, President of the University of London Union (ULU) and editor of Springtime (2011)