Lord Mandelson Sets out Vision for Universities in UK

Lord Mandelson is to set out the Government’s plan for the future of universities today, with a statement to the House of Commons expected at 3pm. Lord Mandelson is expected to emphasise the Government’s desire to build greater links between universities and business, seeing higher education as a way to reinvigorate the economy.

Speaking on this morning’s ‘Today’ programme, Lord Mandelson outlined his plan, which will be focused around three main areas: giving students more consumer-style information; improving social mobility and access to the professions by those from poorer backgrounds and aiding economic recovery.

Universities are to be told to treat students more like customers, allowing them to see how their fees are being used. Each university will be asked to publish course-by-course graduate employment rates, teaching time and drop out rates. This is widely interpreted as a precursor to raising tuition fees for students. A review of student tuition fees is expected to be launched within the next few weeks and will report after the general election.

Speaking on ‘Today’, Lord Mandelson said that research needed to be concentrated on providing economic benefits. Where extra degree places are provided by universities, these should be focused on ‘STEM’ (Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths) subjects, he said.

Further information:
Mandelson to announce plans to modernise ‘ivory tower’ universities (Guardian)
Vision for universities laid out (BBC News)