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Prepare to bend the knee to Commissar Barber

📥  Comment, News and Updates

Sir Michael Barber has come a long way: ex school teacher / ex NUT officer / ex Labour Party candidate / ex No 10 Policy Unit / ex Pearson / ex McKinsey /  ex ... .  He is the chair of the Orwellian, Office for Students,  the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for HE in England which begins work next year.  Although it sounds like a piece of software Bill Gates sells, OfS replaces HEFCE and OFA.

But Barber seems to think his remit extended well beyond students, telling The Times the other day:

“Exceptional pay should be for exceptional performance.  I don’t want to comment on individuals but where you haven’t got the track record and where your pay sticks out like a sore thumb, then you should be asking yourselves questions and we will regulate that.”

There we are: the promise of government control of Vice-Chancellor's salaries.  Will universities put up with this?  Or will some of them revolt?  My breath is not being held, but I hope some do as I think it's an abuse of the supposedly hands-off relationship between politicians and universities.  Where, we should ask, will this end?

Equally significantly, in all this rush to be the champion of the student experience, I hope OfS remembers that universities also have responsibilities towards society and the future and that they are not just there for here today and gone tomorrow students.

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