back to article British unis mull offshore EU campuses in post-Brexit vote panic

British universities are looking to deepen links with their continental counterparts or even open offshore campuses in order to maintain their EU ties. Universities face a double hit of reduced research funding and fewer EU students choosing British institutions thanks to Brexit uncertainty. Staff recruitment has also been hit …

  1. wyatt

    I was interested to see a program about this a few years ago on the telly, I was surprised so many were travelling abroad to learn. Not a bad thing to do if you've the funds to do so, opens up a whole new job market if you've additional language skills. Also the experience of living in a different country can be invaluable, if only for the access to other countries around where you are.

    1. Chris Miller

      That plus the fact you can often get it for free rather than incurring a £50,000 student loan. Many EU unis offer courses entirely in English in order to attract foreign (not just British) students.

      1. x 7

        "That plus the fact you can often get it for free rather than incurring a £50,000 student loan. Many EU unis offer courses entirely in English in order to attract foreign (not just British) students."

        got any pointers as to which ones? My son would like to avoid a student loan

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          which ones?

          Many in Germany.

        2. Len

          The University of Amsterdam has apparently seen a big influx of British students after the UK's hike in tuition fees (if Brexit actually happens that will only increase). Not only do they have entire programmes in English, you can easily live in Amsterdam without speaking Dutch.

          A friend of mine only decided to take Dutch lessons after living in Amsterdam for six years, he's now been there for thirteen years, bought a house in Amsterdam and has no desire to come back to the UK.

          1. Skoorb

            Maastricht has a load of good programmes in English.

          2. Ken 16 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            If Brexit actually happens?

            a) that's your governments policy

            b) any influx of British students enrolling at UVA won't increase, it will come to a complete halt

        3. biscuit

          On the whole you won't find (m)any in France that do this, however, generally speaking, once you go to the countries that are stereotypically good at English (eg the Nordics and the Dutch-speaking countries) you will find a lot of courses taught in English.

          More specifically, I have heard very good things about Flemish (Dutch speaking part of Belgium) universities in this respect. I remember seeing an article about British students studying at the University of Ghent (in the Dutch-speaking half of Belgium) in one of the broadsheets (The Times I think). The University of Leuven is probably also good in this respect, but geographically speaking it is on the 'wrong' side of Brussels. Both these universities have good English language websites.

          Sadly, with the fog of Brexit surrounding everything, the cost of your son's education may go up.

          1. theModge

            Ghent has a fantastic reputation in the very small specific area that interests me (Ontologies for Railways, since you didn't ask) and, having been there, is a really nice vibrant young city, much nicer than Brussels for a start. I don't know about the undergraduate side but all the academics and post grads speak embarrassingly flawless English, along side Flemish and French.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I would suggest you look at some good Netherlands Universities - not too difficult to search for - or have you tried?

        5. Big_Baldy_Bloke

          Some great options in Sweden

          Many degrees taught in English. Zero fees for EU students. My son is at Lund University (not far from Malmo and only 40 mins by train from Copenhagen Airport). Cost of living higher than West Midlands but cheaper than London (though that assessment was made before the step change in exchange rates in late June). Still, it is a very much better bet than £30k of fees.

        6. Lars Silver badge
          WTF?

          "got any pointers". In his movie "Where to invade next" Michael Moore deals with this question in several European countries, like here:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g3Km5kSi7A

          What the hell is going on, now you have May apparently believing it's possible to lineup kids at the age of eleven in the bright and not so bright, what a totally stupid idea, known to be stupid more than one hundred years ago, my Deity.

        7. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Avoid the £50k:- Trinity College Dublin

          TCD have some fantastic courses in English, cost is about €3K/yr, weather is typically british, shopping is great! This, and all the other Irish universities are wonderful value for money. Entrance grades are complicated, being based on points. Point thresholds change each year.

          Sweden does have great value tuition, Netherlands has some great value institutions. All the German/Austrian technology colleges that I looked at do require good German language skills.

          My son has chosen to study science & engineering at a Swiss (French) university with about half the classes being in English language. ( other half of lectures are in quite slow French language, they offer a French language summer-school 'booster' course ) the annual cost , fees , is an unbelievable 800 quid per year. Accommodation is proving a minor problem, prices from CHF450.-/month up to thousands. . .

          Some UK unis offer good value tuition, even with the £50k debt taken into account, but not many.

        8. Chris Miller

          @x 7

          Check out Debrecen in eastern Hungary. Not only is it good academically (often thought of as Hungary's Cambridge), but many courses are entirely in English (understandably, there's a restricted audience for ones in Hungarian). And the cost of living is low, too.

    2. Halfmad Silver badge

      works both ways but certainly works.

      My wife (from Manchester) studied in Scotland then also did a year in Paris and New York thanks to scholarships. If you're bright enough the world is your oyster, as long as you get noticed early on. Her way wasn't entirely paid but with some part time work she didn't have to take on any additional debt. That's all without any help financially from her family.

      Being fluent in even one additional language can absolutely open doors for you, I wish I'd paid more attention at school now..

      1. Sirius Lee

        Re: works both ways but certainly works.

        With respect, your wife's situation does not compare that of kids today. My middle son is in his third year at uni and is in the second year of those taking on the debt required to fund their studies. Unless your wife did all of this studying and travelling in the last three years (a truly remarkable achievement) then your comments don't amount to much.

        Today, the undergraduate period is where the costs arise. If your wife went on to study for a PhD then today, just as in previous years, there are grants to help. But universities offer only limited bursaries to mitigate some of the undergraduate study costs even for the most able students who are also from a less advantaged background.

        By contrast, my eldest son who has now completed his degree course and is now working has almost no debt.

    3. Tom Paine Silver badge

      This isn't about UK citizens going to the Warsaw branch of Nuneaton University.

  2. nuked

    Given that the cost of a degree for UK students is now roughly £50k, and about double that for an international student, this just seems like good business for the Universities. I suppose it sounds a little less greedy if you do it whilst jumping to board the gloomy-Brexit bandwagon...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      British universities were already getting a lot of money from those international students — that's the whole point. The students now don't want to come to a country that doesn't want them (over 10% drop already), so if the universities don't want a huge hole in their finances, they now have to move the jobs off-shore to teach those students in another country. And those students will also spend their money on food, accommodation, etc. elsewhere. It's a big problem of Brexit for the higher-education sector, and for businesses in university towns. Expect to see degree costs for UK students also go up.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    Ok, so...

    All the UK universities build a building or "buy" a floor in a building on a new University of Europe in, say, Ireland. Persuade Apple to spend a bit of that £13b building it - if it gives a non-EU country access to research funding and collaboration and working rights, then there's no stopping USA universities from having a presence there... could be the start of something wonderful.

  4. phuzz Silver badge
    Headmaster

    What's wrong with the French system? It sounded quite sane to me, although it was being explained to me by a French friend

    Mind you, as all French people will tell you, the British way of doing anything at all is rubbish compared to the way La Belle France does it.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Indeed, my alma mater has had a presence in Paris (oo-er, see icon) for many years now.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        @ Uncle Slacky

        Shouldn't that be alma pater?

    2. Caff

      french law

      Its probably the french employment laws that put them off

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: french law

        Nope. It's that they're the french that puts them off.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: french law

          Open enrolement is a problem for many courses. You end up with massive first year classes with a 80% drop out rate. It's less a problem in science/engineering because you can set pre-req.

          Staff is a bigger problem, jobs are civil service. So it's very very difficult for a new post-doc to get a permanent job, but once they do they are set for life and impossible to fire - makes for some pretty hide bound departments.

          1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

            Re: french law

            I have two ex Italian academics working in my company who fled the appalling approach Italian Universities take for jobs for the boys (actually really) or family of the prof. They are bloody good, very welcome to be paying them 3-4 times what they could earn in Italy. There are consequences though - we are based in Scotland. But hey, the Romans legions did it :-)

    3. Dr_N Silver badge

      The only thing I've ever heard the French bitch about are UK mains plugs and non-mixer taps in bathrooms.

      They are pretty open to other stuff.

      1. James Anderson Silver badge

        Plumbing was always a bit of a novelty in France.

        1. ulbdd

          Funny, it's quite common to hear jokes about UK plumbing in France. In particular anemic water pressure in showers. Maybe it's a case of "filer à l'anglaise" vs. "taking a French leave"?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "filer à l'anglaise" vs. "taking a French leave"

            -or "capote anglais" v " French letter"

          2. You aint sin me, roit
            Holmes

            It's not so much the plumbing...

            It's having to squat to sh*t into a hole in the ground.

      2. Wensleydale Cheese

        "The only thing I've ever heard the French bitch about are UK mains plugs and non-mixer taps in bathrooms."

        Oh yes, I used to get the non-mixer tap grouse from the French.

        The trouble is, once you've got used to them being everywhere, mixer taps are so much more convenient.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      3. Slx

        Over here Ireland we have kilometres and Euros but we also have pints of beer and enormous 3-pin fused plugs. The sacred plumbing tradition of these islands has also been preserved - usually keeping the hot and cold water carefully separated for absolutely no logical reason!

        1. x 7

          "keeping the hot and cold water carefully separated for absolutely no logical reason!"

          Its to stop siphonage of water from the hot tank into the cold water system. Hot water tanks are often bacteria laden due to dead pigeons / rats / mice / bats or their shit in the header / expansion tank and you don't want that kind of gunge getting back into the drinkable cold water system.

          When you were a child did your parents never tell you not to drink from the hot water tap?

          Less of a problem nowadays with covered tanks, but still a risk

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Less of a problem nowadays with covered tanks, but still a risk"

            And even less with boilers supplied straight from the mains with no storage anywhere in the system (although that has its own problems).

          2. Farnet

            water storage tanks

            My parents had a guest house when I was a kid and I remember one guest complaining that he had feathers in his bath when he turned on the hot water tap.

            Well the tank was in the attic wasn't in an easy to reach part of the roof, but being about 10 I managed to get there. The asbestos sheet (dont go there) covering the tank was broken and inside was about 5 decomposing bodies of pigeon chicks from a nest directly above, so there must have been poo and everytthing in the water going back a very long time.

            A lot of old houses still have this design, and since then I REALLY try to avoid mixer taps in old hotels / guest houses for that exact reason.

    4. James Anderson Silver badge

      Apart from the two Elite colleges and INSEAD french univerities are really low on the academic league tables. Open admission and disinterested staff would seem to be the norm.

      I really do not see the problem Abertay univerity is full of Malaysian and Singaporean students who seem to have got there without hiding in a lorry at Calias and are very happy to be there (after a quick trip to Millets for the coats, gloves, scarfs thermal underwaer etc.).

      Don't see why a German or Frenchy should have any more trouble.

      1. lybad
        Happy

        Milletts in Dundee is now closed - they'll have to go to Black's instead.

      2. biscuit

        France has some very good business schools. Besides, a problem in English/French translation is that a French université is at a lower level than a UK university, meaning that if you go into a job interview and say that you have been to the University of X,you might get some strange looks. I always had to say that it was the equivalent of an "école d'ingénieurs".

        1. Len

          True. A 'university' is not the same as a 'université'. Ironically for English speakers, one of the most prestigious forms of education in France is the 'école normale'...

          1. Tabor

            école normale

            Isn't that ironically similar to the "public school" in the UK ?

          2. Andy 66

            "Ironically for English speakers, one of the most prestigious forms of education in France is the 'école normale'..."

            And then you have the ENS - the "Superior Normal School". There's always one that has to try outdo the other by coming up with a posher name ;)

            BTW, the remark about it being a nightmare in France for offshoring unis would likely be due to the loi de Sauvadet which automatically converts a contracted position into a permanent position after 6 years. Not a bad system for private companies (prevents the eternal contract), but in higher education, it's a nightmare as your "employer" is the entire French higher education system. So impossible to go from from one uni to another as its the same "employer".

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          a lot of Spanish Universities are similar, depending on where you are, most places seem to think any study that rates as further education is a Uni' course.

      3. heyrick Silver badge

        "disinterested staff would seem to be the norm"

        Sounds like most of the British teachers I've ever had to endure. Let's see - indifference, not knowing the subject, not caring if there were children of different abilities, and maybe worse not even realising that some of my friends were getting completely lost and left behind...

        I don't think crappy teachers are the speciality of any particular nation.

    5. steamnut

      Say non to EU funding.

      It's all very well for the French to take a negative attitude towards the British but where would they be now if we hadn't stepped up to the plate in both World Wars? Of course they could build another Maginot Line....

      As for the Universities and their funding I can add some real experience of being involved in an EU backed project which is now in it's fourth year and counting....

      First, don't be in a hurry, the overly detailed paperwork takes years.

      Second, you are usually asked to match their funding; ie you don't get 100% of the money.

      Third, the money comes with lots of unreasonable obligations and restrictions mostly geared to carbon footprint, cycling, walking and even live access to local transport timetables. The actual projects' aim is lost in the paperwork.

      Fourth, they check everything (even counting the bike racks) that they have asked for before signing off the final funds and, again, this can take over a year.

      And last but not least, they demand lots of EU signage to tell everyone that they put some of their/our money into it. Even the size and location of the EU signage gets a document!

      My project should have been done and dusted in 18 months. After four years we are still not done.

      The real beneficiaries of EU funding are those academics that keep creating new research projects as a way of avoiding ever getting a real job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Say non to EU funding.

        The real beneficiaries of EU funding are those academics that keep creating new research projects as a way of avoiding ever getting a real job.

        And there is the crux of the matter. If they didn't get the EU funding they might have to actually teach for a living which might, if we are very lucky, mean that we would get graduates that know a little about their subject applying to enter the workforce.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Say non to EU funding.

          "And there is the crux of the matter. If they didn't get the EU funding they might have to actually teach for a living which might, if we are very lucky, mean that we would get graduates that know a little about their subject applying to enter the workforce."

          Given the absolutely awful standard of academic pedagogical practice, especially from those who are research orientated, your average student will suffer even more than they do already. One such 'research' academic I have the misfortune to deal with has less teaching qualifications than I and other members of my technical support team do, unlike most they believe treating students like shit when they are power-tripping whilst lecturing™ is perfectly fine. One can only hope the TEF will weed out these people before they affect my employers student satisfaction survey ratings too much, though no doubt the UCU will fight tooth and nail to keep them in a job they are really not suitable for.

        2. Yes Me Silver badge

          Re: Say non to EU funding.

          @Ivan 4, you're pretty ignorant about how good universities actually work, I think. Good research breeds good education. Weak research breeds tick-the-box teaching and useless graduates.

      2. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Say non to EU funding.

        @steamnut

        "It's all very well for the English to think the French take a negative attitude towards the British"

        Corrected for accuracy.

        This Dail Wail/Faily Express world view isn't going to get any better after brexit is it?

        Plus ça change, as they say.

      3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Say non to EU funding.

        "It's all very well for the French to take a negative attitude towards the British but where would they be now if we hadn't stepped up to the plate in both World Wars?"

        That would never have been an issue if you hadn't lost the 100 years war, now would it?

    6. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I suppose there isn't much wrong with the French system, but I guess the French system doesn't like a foreign university rocking up in France and setting up in competition with French universities, teaching a foreign curriculum, and, last but not least, not in French.

    7. Len

      I doubt it will have anything to do with the French educational system. If you are a UK university opening a campus in France it's not because you want to adopt the French system, it's more likely you want to export the British system (or at least the brand name of the university).

      I would say it is more likely that the hassle to open up a higher education campus in France is more than in for instance Finland or the Baltics.

  5. Caff

    Ireland

    They may think twice about Ireland unless they plan on building a vast number of student apartments to go along with their campus ( though considering the rent they could collect on them this might be the appeal )

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Ireland

      Aren't there entire villages of empty properties?

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re:entire villages of empty properties?

        Not near anywhere with a college, IT, University or town. The idea was to persuade people to commute for over an hour each way.

        Some were no use even for that, simply developers gone mad.

        We are short of housing where people want it, hence any help to first time buyers etc simply puts the price up an equivalent amount.

        Like the UK, government has been selling off so called "social housing" and building little or none in comparison.

        People that can travel from home each day to Uni are seriously envied. Some rents per person sharing for students are more per week than my monthly mortgage. An inferior version of my semi on less land is x3 more inside M50 ring. Or nearly as much on the desirable side of Corrib in Galway City. So I can't afford to move either!

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Re:entire villages of empty properties?

          And if you're building a new university... where do you put it? Near the places with the empty houses. Mountain meet Mohammed.

  6. SidTheSod

    Move your Uni to the EU?

    I don't seem to understand why this is a problem? also why do we want to spend public money on building university's abroad?

    If they really want to stay in the EU, just move.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Move your Uni to the EU?

      Isn't it obvious? It's a problem because UK investment money, clue and skillz are leaving the country. This is not going to help the economy or society.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    offshore campuses

    why, couldn't we just annouce the whole of the UK an offshore project? Oh, wait...

  8. newro

    industry partners

    Completely overlooked in this article is the role of industry partners which make for almost 50% of funding for master/PhD projects in the Tech sector. I personally witnessed these involvements to go down to almost zero now, as literally the week after the referendum companies have called in and said that they have to rethink investment. As the future of the UK is uncertain, so is access to European patents, etc.

    The effect of this is delayed, as already running projects are continued, but the fact that no new ones get seeded will be seen for years to come. Opportunities and potential start up companies that would manifest in years are simply not going to happen now. Or at least not in the UK.

  9. Justicesays

    What underwrite means when politicians say it

    See also:

    underpay

    undertaker

    understanding(lack of)

  10. John Sager

    Lack of imagination

    I went to uni (UMIST) before we ever joined the EU, and there were students and staff from all over - there were one or two Czechs too after Prague Spring - we were welcoming then and will be again, despite the 'hate immigrants' crap. Has the EU made it so difficult for academia to be as independent and world-looking as it was in those days? Deliberately? The comment from steamnut seems to suggest that the EU is like a giant flypaper (or perhaps a spider's web) so academics get enmeshed in a sticky gunk of admin that has sucked all the initiative away.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Lack of imagination

      We are not living in the 1960s any more, grasshopper. (Or should that be 'Toto'?)

      Why would overseas students want the immigration paperwork and expense in a country that (from their point of view) appears to have been taken over by xenophobic thugs?*

      * I'm not saying it /has/ been, but when mobs are beating people to death in the streets for speaking Polish, it's certainly going to look that way over the Channel. If you know any EU nationals here today, especially younger ones with portable skills and few ties, you'll know this perception is very, very real. People are leaving.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lack of imagination

        People are leaving.

        I don't blame them.

        Britain over the next thirty years will need larger prisons to house the racist thugs, but on the bright side building and staffing prisons don't require staff with degrees.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. Ken 16 Silver badge
          Big Brother

          there, fixed it

          Britain over the next thirty years will need larger prisons to house the EU sympathisers and ethnic minorities but on the bright side building and staffing prisons don't require staff with degress, just clean racial pedigrees.

  11. Ralph Online
    Pint

    Ghent has so much to offer....

    Start with "Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant"

    1. H in The Hague Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Ghent has so much to offer....

      "Start with "Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant"

      I would rather start at Het Bierhuis aan de Waterkant :)

  12. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
    Unhappy

    In my day universities were institutions. Now they just seem to be brands.

    1. jason 7 Silver badge

      Yes plus a degree was worth more than a Maths O Level.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Including Maths degrees :-(

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hard luck

    The scandal at a senior English university of which I have knowledge, was the vast number of EU students here studying their own native tongue. Nice jubbly for the university and an easy degree for the foreign students. It's time the gravy train was halted.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Hard luck

      Not to mention all those weasly Brits studying English, of all subjects...

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge

        Re: Hard luck

        surely no-one english needs an english degree?

  14. andy 103

    Degrees are worth less now everyone has one

    More people with degrees = less value of a degree.

    I graduated from a top 10 UK university in the mid 2000's and as far as I'm concerned that was about the last time that a degree had any kind of meaning.

    Everywhere I've worked since has been full of other people with degrees to the point where it wasn't seen as anything special if you had one. Conversley, if you didn't have one, well most I.T. companies only care if you can get the job done on time and within budget anyway, so why would a degree matter?

    If I was 10 years younger there's no way I'd entertain doing a degree now. As a software developer, I'd focus on learning and improving my skillset (development tools, languages, testing procedures, etc) and go to the highest bidder. If a degree costs 50k, it's going to take quite a while for that to be repaid, especially given you could be on the same - or potentially higher earnings - without one.

    Incidentally, if you have time and inclination to learn another (spoken) language, I'd say you could progress faster than someone with a degree with isn't mutli-lingual.

    Global I.T. relies on people being able to speak multiple languages (I've witnessed several very highly paid technology translators who do just that in my career so far). The notion that it's "all in English" is only partly true; being able to speak someone elses language is not a bad thing.

    Just my opinion, but the times have changed.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Degrees are worth less now everyone has one

      > I graduated from a top 10 UK university in the mid 2000's and as far as I'm concerned that was about the last time that a degree had any kind of meaning.

      I graduated from a top 10 UK university in the mid 1980's and as far as I'm concerned that was about the last time that a degree had any kind of meaning. ;-)

      Actually the rot started with the Polytechnics - so I'd revise the date back to the mid-60s. :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Degrees are worth less now everyone has one

      More people with degrees = less value of a degree.

      Your equation doesn't factor in the fact there are more people now than there once was in the days of polytechnics and YTS.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Degrees are worth less now everyone has one

        He's using the term "more" to mean "a higher percentage of people".

        Relative as opposed to absolute.

        English is wonderfully vague sometimes.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Degrees are worth less now everyone has one

          "English is wonderfully vague sometimes."

          Yes, maybe we more English people should do English degrees!

  15. bobajob12

    Unsurprising

    Unis are just doing what businesses with a lot of exposure to the EU are doing. Opening up the Dublin or Stuttgart office of BigCorp Ltd or BigUni is a hedge against Brexit really meaning hard, irreparable breakdown of UK/EU relations and so is a sensible precaution.

    As to why a org might feel the need to take such a step, they are starting to accrue evidence of a cooldown. In universities' cases, funding for research from the UK government was always feeble and rocky, so most advanced programs had to leverage EU funds to get off the ground. Now that is looking shaky, they want to secure their funding. Similarly businesses are being hit with the uncertainty around inward investment. I mean really would you invest in a factory or an office in the UK right now? Whether you were pro or anti-Brexit, you would want for things to settle down first.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Off-shoring, can they afford it?

    Given the number of UK Universities off-shoring already, and failing to make back the costs of doing so in some cases, Southampton Soilent came close to bankruptcy I'm told, it's Red Brick neighbour seems to have found a better funding model by all accounts, how many can afford the costs and not go under? Oxbridge have massive reserves to keep them going, others are living from hand to mouth, though I note their VC's still get hansom pay rises, 5-15% is the usual range, whilst the ever reducing number of staff, Brexit is the latest excuse for restructuring (cost cutting), who actually do the job of teaching, support and such like will be lucky to see more than 1.1%.

    1. bobajob12
      Trollface

      Re: Off-shoring, can they afford it?

      A hansom raise certainly beats a company car, especially if it comes with a horse!

      Seriously though, we need to look back and consider if there aren't actually too many universities. When John Major opened up the doors he doubtless had good intentions of widening access to higher ed, and every poly and local college rushed to rebrand themselves. There was a whole lotta whalesong being sung as world+dog got new logos and branding, as I recall.

      But has it led to a better educated populace? More people able to get the types of advanced jobs we need? Or has it just thinned out the resources to universities and led to an explosion in half-baked degrees? Is a Maths degree from Thames Valley really the same as a Maths degree from Warwick? Is a Media Studies degree worth the debt for the vast majority of students? I'm starting to wonder.

      The flip side isn't all that rosy either. A handful of universities for the elite kids was fine when the proles could have a good 40-year career without it, but that hasn't been true for years.

      Discuss

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Off-shoring, can they afford it?

        The one caused the other.

        If practically everyone has a "degree", then every job will ask for a degree.

        If very few people have a degree, then employers will stop asking for it and instead ask for relevant experience.

        HR are like everyone else - they'll take a shortcut (ask for a degree) if they can.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Off-shoring, can they afford it?

        > John Major opened up the doors he doubtless had good intentions of widening access to higher ed,

        It was a great opportunity for some elite places. They had been facing competition from other universities since the 60s but now they got a huge marketing advantage.

        Go to say Sussex or Newcastle and hope the HR dept know if those are "real" universities or just an old teacher training college rebranded. Much safer to stick with Oxbridge/London/Durham. Same thing applies to researchers/industry partners/funders as well as students.

        If you were cynical you could think that it was all planned over a nice dinner for Sir Humphrey at his old college.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Off-shoring, can they afford it?

          "hope the HR dept know"

          There's your problem, right there.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Off-shoring, can they afford it?

        "Media Studies degree worth the debt for the vast majority of students?"

        "HR are like everyone else"

        Probably using their media studies degrees to good effect. Or at least to some sort of effect.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Off-shoring, can they afford it?

      "Given the number of UK Universities off-shoring already, and failing to make back the costs of doing so in some cases,"

      On the other hand, most universities seem to be spending money hand over fist putting up new buildings on campus. In particular, building on car parks making parking a nightmare!

  17. Jess

    People in Britain* have had enough of experts

    * Britain being used to mean England and Wales, not as an abbreviation of Great Britain, (or even the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always good to be reminded of why I emigrated from the UK. "Deport the experts!" must be UKIP's latest slogan. "Down with their high-falutin' language and deep domain knowledge!"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Come over to this side of the pond.

      We like experts, we pay them, you don't have to work in the City to get paid above poverty wages.

      You can even afford a house (San Francisco and Vancouver excepted)

      Even if you have a Northern accent people can't tell and women still think it's cute.

      Your boss won't be a chinless **beep** who got promoted because he went to the right school.

      (You do have to get used to not being able to swear as much in the office.)

  19. Steve Knox
    Trollface

    How much more of this...

    Until some enterprising MP comes up with a Bre-entry* strategy?

    * Copyright, trademark, etc.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: How much more of this...

      Too late...

  20. Alan Denman

    How about China and Cuba?

    beggars cant be choosers

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