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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2019

Struggling unis account for bulk of unconditional offers - end education marketisation!

photo Kit/CC

photo Kit/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Theo Sharieff, Socialist Students national chair

It has been revealed that 20 universities are responsible for the massive spike in unconditional offers to students.

Unconditional offers mean when universities offer a place to students before they sit their final exams at college or sixth form - without a requirement to pass them.

The increase in unconditional offers by universities is staggering - there were a total of 117,000 offers made in 2018 described as having an unconditional element to them, compared to 3,000 five years ago.

Data also revealed that three universities in 2018 apparently made more than 70% of their total offers unconditional, in what is an increasingly harsh competition between universities for undergraduates.

The Office for Students, the Tory-launched higher education regulator previously headed by the bigot Toby Young, has reportedly 'signalled its displeasure' at the news of the growth in number of these unconditional offers.

Of course, some may look at this news as a positive - that more students can be taken into higher education, without facing the stress and pressure of demanding grade requirements.

This can be true, but the reality is this is actually a symptom of a higher education system in crisis.

What is it that has caused this massive spike? The Tories' own policies of austerity and cuts to higher education!

The introduction and increase of tuition fees, and the resulting marketisation of our universities, means that universities are encouraged to compete among one another for as many undergraduates as possible.

This system of competition - in which students are simply relied on to inject cash into the coffers of universities - is of no benefit to any students who go to university with the hope of attaining a decent education.

Socialists want to fight for a system in which all working-class people have access to higher education and to enter into, if they choose, the world of academic study.

But this recent report highlights the ludicrousness of an education system run on the principles of the market - a for-profit education system, not run in the interests of students or workers, but in the interests of the vice-chancellors and managers who sit at the top.

This story is just yet another indictment of Tory austerity, and the system for which austerity is carried out, capitalism.

With the Tories in such disarray, a mass movement of students and workers, called by Jeremy Corbyn and the trade union leaders - through national and local demonstrations, campaigns, and crucially strike actions - could end the Tories and their austerity agenda.

We call for a socialist education system - an education system that is publicly owned, democratically run and universally free at all levels.

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In The Socialist 6 February 2019:


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