Vice-Chancellor calls on MPs to amend Higher Education and Research Bill
26 September 2016
London South Bank University's (LSBU) Vice-Chancellor and Chair of MillionPlusProfessor 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.”