Vicky Hayhurst07/09/2017

I spent some time thinking about whether or not I should write this post because it is subjective. But…after working in HE for nearly 13 years and having had the best times of my life when I was a student, I felt that it would be strange if I didn’t have an opinion *prepares barricades*.

The prompt for this article was the level of uncertainty and turbulence that is currently surrounding UK HE. The sector has withstood the biggest changes of any university sector in the world but despite that is still delivering its purpose of changing lives for the better for hundreds of thousands of people, from the UK and world wide.

Whilst attending the CASE Europe Annual Conference last month, Alistair Jarvis (CEO, Universities UK) reminded us of the value HE brings with some truly amazing stats. These have been built on further since I highlighted some last September as well as millions of personal success stories over the years.

Therefore, I had hoped that such a transformational sector would have been better understood and respected by politicians on both sides of the fence but, personally, I’m not seeing much of this. So, to any politicians reading (or to anyone who has read this far – thanks by the way), here is my plea:

  • Please recognise the jewel in the crown that we have in UK higher education – you will be hard pushed to find another UK sector which is so highly regarded on a global scale.
  • Please help us to build pride in the sector – the stats speak for themselves and people need to be more aware of them.
  • Please make logical and well-advised decisions based on facts about what the sector delivers and how it must operate, and please stick to these – u-turns during or after a campaign cause procrastination and confusion which hinders progress (I know I’m stating the obvious with this point).
  • Please celebrate and support a sector that has been around for hundreds of years and is still growing – it has huge resilience and potential.
  • Please appreciate that the sector provides social transformation that can not be quantified – it’s so much more than just providing career ready grads.
  • Please stop trying to minimise VCs’ pay just to avoid negative headlines – this is a weak reason and what we really need are VCs who are worthy of the salary.
  • Please start closing the gap between those who can afford to go to uni and those who can’t – in a highly competitive world, we must ensure that all who are willing and able get this life changing opportunity in the UK.

Yours in hope,

Vicky Hayhurst, UK HE Super Fan

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