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Vice-Chancellor calls on MPs to amend Higher Education and Research Bill

26 September 2016
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LSBU Vice-Chancellor Professor David Phoenix champions the vision of 21st century universities in a speech at the Labour Party Conference

London South Bank University's (LSBU) Vice-Chancellor and Chair of MillionPlus Professor David Phoenix called on MPs to amend the Higher Education and Research Bill, to champion a vision of 21st century universities that supports teaching, research, enterprise and reaching out to all communities. 

In a speech at a MillionPlus and National Union of Students (NUS) co-hosted fringe event at the Labour Party Conference on 26 September in Liverpool, Prof. Phoenix stated that current government policy is driving the marketisation of universities as 'businesses'. This is increasing the focus on competition, and growing the division between teaching and research - the two of which are vital for both universities and students.

Prof. Phoenix said: “Great research informs great teaching. We need to make sure the government’s plans are amended, so that collaboration and the public interest, and not simply the competition, are on the face of the Bill.”

Speaking alongside him were Gordon Marsden MP and Shadow Minister Higher Education, Further Education and Skills; Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group; and Malia Bouattia, President of the NUS.

In light of the Brexit vote, Prof. Phoenix also called on MPs to press the government to make urgent plans to ensure there is no end to cross border working: “Working with our EU partners has been extremely successful. This needs to continue and as such it should be at the centre of the Brexit negotiations about higher education.”

Since the Brexit vote, Prof. Phoenix has continually reassured international and EU students, as well as those applying to study at LSBU, that he remains committed to ensuring that LSBU continues to be a welcoming, diverse and vibrant international community.

Taking part in the recent ‘London Is Open’ campaign he said: “The Prime Minister needs to send a message around the world that we are an open and friendly country, for students and staff, and the best way she could do that would be to remove students from migration figures altogether.

“I want broad, international and diverse curriculums to be available to all. MPs need to press the government to make an urgent decision to guarantee that EU students will have access to student loan funding at least until 2020 to ensure that the UK’s trade in higher education services is not damaged even before any negotiations about Brexit have been triggered.”

Read more advice on the EU referendum.

Notes for Editors: check against delivery.

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