It is now June. In 20-odd days we may be out of Europe. The new HE white paper clearly places Higher Education in the market, and as a servant of the market, although no-one inside has been naive enough to think it anywhere else for some time.
Of course, there is resistance inside institutions, and there are great academics and departments. The subjects themselves are still structured according to the old world in most places.
However, UK universities have taken up the Consumer Rights Act, reframing staff as providers and students as consumers. This will change the very fabric of the institutions and it will irrevocably warp the structures of knowledge they care for.
If we are in or out on the 23rd, the political chaos will run and run. HE will not be miraculously liberated from neoconservative policy in the near future. It is time to create new values outside: a more flattened hierarchy, all of us ‘scholars’, no fees, a Higher Education co-op. Social Science Centre Lincoln have been operating along these lines since 2011.
They were the first to seriously step up by doing things differently after the Browne Report of 2009 and the Millbank Riot of 2010. It is time to create the HE we want. There is no point relying on a long wait for internal change.
This is an inauguration of the second SSC on the island. SSC Lincoln granted their approval for this at their AGM on May 7, 2016. We need many more branches. Social Science Centre Manchester will begin with exactly the same model and constitution SSC Lincoln did. I will be following this post with a call for funding, members and then with further detail.