19 Dec 2019
MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, reflects on the need for a clear strategic direction for higher education as the Government laid out its agenda in today’s (19 December) Queen’s Speech. With the Conservative Party’s election victory MillionPlus called on the new government to embrace modern universities as a pivotal driver of opportunity for all, helping them build on their success and the potential of their students in every region, transforming the next decade for higher education across the UK. Following recent uncertainty there is now a real chance for stability and growth, with government supporting higher education to deliver shared priorities for national productivity and personal aspiration.
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Chair of MillionPlus and Vice-Chancellor, Canterbury Christ Church University said:
“As we depart the EU we must look to the future and re-evaluate how our universities can remain internationalised and world-leading. It’s right that immigration reform is an objective of this government, and student visa reform should be a key part of that overhaul if the UK is to remain competitive globally. The status of European students should be a key aspect of the Government’s plans for a free trade deal agreed next year.
“MillionPlus supports the Government’s determination to quickly catch-up with our international competitors by investing more in research and development (R&D). Funds should be invested broadly including in impactful, translational research that drives innovation in companies across the whole country, not just existing hot spots.
“During the 2020s students will expect high levels of investment in their education, so ensuring that the unit of resource per student is maintained in line with inflation must be high on the government’s agenda. The cost of providing high quality higher education increases every year as universities do ever more to support students to be ready for work and in maintaining their well-being. Supporting students wishing to study flexibly is also crucial with steps taken by the government to make it easier for those in work or with other commitments to be successful in higher education.
“We are encouraged that the government is delivering on its manifesto promises on increased investment in the public service workforce. Modern universities are the main providers of these hugely important skilled workers so moves to boost the training and development of these professions could be enormously beneficial for England. The removal of the nursing bursary created huge challenges for hospitals and universities, and so increased financial support for students is a welcome investment”.
Notes to editors