Will Burstow is the SUBU Development Officer and the Student Conservative Activist Network (SCAN) representative at Bournemouth University. He writes here in a personal capacity.
OK, here goes... I’m going to say it. I’m a student union officer, and I support the Browne Review and Higher Education (HE) spending cuts. We need them both as soon as possible. The sector as it is now is sluggish and unsustainable. It’s as simple as that. Now I don’t think anyone wants to cheer about cuts, but I believe we should be cheering on and supporting the Browne Review.
Not a sentiment you thought you’d hear from any student at the moment? Well frankly you won’t hear any doom and gloom from me about the issue, because I know that we as a people can work through this difficult time and come out stronger and more resilient than before because I believe in the spirit of the British people. The truth of the matter is that you only ever get doom and gloom from an NUS that’s more interested in the political advancement of their Labour youth leadership than in the long term interests of their members.
As far as I’m concerned, we’ve got to reform Higher Education. There’s no doubt about it. It’s a sector that’s stagnant and doesn’t listen to the concerns of ordinary students. So let’s change that. Let’s escape from the current system. I genuinely think Browne actually is that escape.
The fact of the matter is that we need a full consumer reformation in HE. A step change in how we fund it. This is the wonder, joy and brilliance of what Browne is; it puts students in control of their education. What better way to drive up standards than to hand power down to ordinary students by giving them a proper market in which to choose? What better way to force the waste and dross out of the HE sector than with a market that puts consumers in control of their educational destiny? What better way to tailor the HE sector to the needs of students than with a wholesale reform of the way universities are funded that’s committed to the funding link between students and universities?