Ten days ago, the House of Lords debated the question:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact of recent reforms of the higher education system on university education and research in the arts, humanities and fundamental science.

 

The Council for the Defence of British Universities (CDBU) was founded to address just these issues. We are pleased, therefore, that the CDBU featured in the debate.

For instance, Lord Smith of Clifton argued:

My Lords, the debate could not be better timed … The introduction by the coalition of a threefold increase in university tuition fees has led, as other noble Lords said, to a plummeting of applications by part-time students.  the coalition hiked up fees to encourage the privatisation of higher education and make it much more market led, which will continue to have enormous reverberations.

Tomorrow, as has been mentioned, the newly formed Council for the Defence of British Universities holds its inaugural meeting. Like many of your Lordships, I am a founding member and declare my interest.

The CDBU has been set up to monitor the effects of coalition policy on the HE sector, many of which seem deleterious … leaving the arts, social sciences, law and particularly the performing and plastic arts to fend for themselves in a world of untrammelled market forces will lead to an imbalance among the academic disciplines that will certainly change the system of higher education.

At a time of austerity and scarce resources, it is imperative that this country has a robust system of higher education.

The full transcript of the debate can be read on Hansard here.