UK: University 'consumer culture' warning

The new chairman of a group of leading research universities has warned against treating students as "consumers purchasing degree certificates", writes Sean Coughlan for the BBC.

Michael Farthing, the incoming chair of the 1994 Group, challenged the government's plans for a shake-up of higher education in England. He criticised the "lack of attention" to postgraduate students in the changes to student finances. A government spokesman defended plans for more "student choice".

The speech by Farthing, vice-chancellor of Sussex University, expressed disappointment with the government's white paper, which sets out a course for a higher education system shaped by competition and market forces. "We cannot fall into the trap of reducing higher education to a set of simple transactions. Universities are so much more than warehouses that sell off-the-shelf qualifications, and students are more than consumers purchasing degree certificates," said Farthing.
Full report on the BBC site