It’s now accepted that learning has to be profitable to be valid

Sussex University has decided to go private - and the students aren't happy

Share
Related Topics

Many people have expressed compassion for Chris Huhne, on the grounds that most of us at some time have committed a worse crime than speeding.

Huhne, for example, went into an election promising to scrap tuition fees and then decided to treble them, causing far more misery than his fibs about driving. Maybe, before he goes back to court to find out his punishment, the judge will pledge to scrap sentences for driving offences, then at the last minute change his mind and treble them instead. I’m sure Huhne would see the funny side.

Trebling fees was only the start of turning further education into a business. Sussex University is the latest to try this, privatising almost the entire place; security, porters, cleaning, starting with the catering, because when big business is in control of a food supply what could possibly go wrong? But this has provoked protests from students and the workforce, including an occupation of the conference centre. The university responded by locking them in, which strangely doesn’t seem to have calmed things down.

As this is one of the facilities to be sold off, the plan could be to keep the students there and market the room as a conference centre with an “uprising” theme. A brochure will boast: “Our unique space offers your business the opportunity to discuss strategies with a thrilling backdrop of water cannon being fired at students. ‘Our sales improved by 7 per cent after an uplifting session in which a physics student was chased by a tank,’ said Ken Sedgwick, South-east regional manager for Carpet Rite.”

If they get away with this scheme, others are sure to follow. Universities will be turned into Westfield Centres, with students taking notes on philosophy while working at the checkout at River Island. Maths lecturers will ask: “How do we express 70 per cent as a fraction? No, not seven tenths, it’s ‘We’ve got a whopping 30 per cent OFF that’s right, 30 PER CENT, here at Homebase we’ve gone ratio CRAZY’.” And chemistry experiments will be carried out by a company called WeHeatAnyMolecule.com

Welfare officers will listen to students struggling with coursework and say: “OK, I’d like you to focus on your strengths, accept it’s natural to be anxious, and realise that’s when you need New Improved Nurofen, because with Nurofen, remember, your appendix might burst but you’d still get a first.”

It’s become accepted amongst those in charge of education that learning has to be profitable to be valid. Learning a language or studying Ancient Egypt simply because that’s a brilliant thing to do is considered a crime against nature. So the protesters are doing all of us a favour, and when I met them yesterday, they seemed exuberant and enthusiastic, and far better company than you’d enjoy at your average business conference. If the government really trusted the free market, they’d charge people for being inspired by the protesters, and sack the idiots running the university.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager (technical, applications, infrastructure)

£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...

English Teacher (Bristol and South Gloucestershire)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: English teachers for day to day cover,...

Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Year 6 Teacher RequiredThis teaching...

SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's Stortford / Stansted

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Thumbs up at Facebook HQ  

We might not trust Amazon, Google and Facebook, but we should still give them a chance

Hamish McRae
 

Scottish independence: The polls all point towards a No win by the slimmest of margins

John Curtice
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week