经济学人:国外私立大学 是贵还是对?

时间:2016-10-10 17:15:40  / 编辑:Abby

  Private universities


  A degree of frustration


  Higher education is embracing private suppliers—buttimidly


  The first batch of 60 undergraduates at the New College of the Humanities in Bloomsbury,London’s main university quarter, occupy a spacious Georgian house. Opening doors on theway up a grand staircase, your reporter eavesdropped on tutorials on ancient Greece,Romantic poets and economic theory. It feels like a dinky version of an august academicinstitution. Yet it is a for-profit organisation with a chief executive huddled over spreadsheetsdownstairs.



  The college’s founder is Anthony Grayling (shown above), a philosopher who wants to introducea bit of diversity to a largely state-funded higher education system. A new high-end entrant inthe marketplace also helps fill the gap in provision for students with good qualifications wholose out by a grade or two in the brutal race for places in the Russell Group of top universities.Degrees are awarded through the University of London, but at 18,000 pounds ($28,550) feesare double the maximum that state-subsidized universities can charge. The syllabus is broaderand more akin to an American liberal-arts college than a traditional English university.

  该大学的创办者名为安东尼·格雷林(Anthony Grayling)(见图),这位哲学家希望为大范围的公立为主的高等教育体系引入一些多元化元素。一些优秀学生由于在罗素大学( Russell Group )集团的残酷竞争中相差一二分而落榜,在教育市场上这位高端新入者为这些学生填补了空缺。学位证书通过伦敦大学颁发,但是费用高达18000英镑(28550 美元),是国立大学补助最高费用的2倍。与传统的英国大学相比,这个教学大纲更宽广,更类似于美国自由艺术大学。

  This kind of disruptive innovation earns a mixed reception. The coalition governmentwelcomes it. But Terry Eagleton, an outspoken Marxist academic, describes the venture as“odious” and divisive. Other critics have pointed out that courses at Mr Grayling’s New Collegeclosely resemble what is on offer, more cheaply, at the existing London university colleges.Two-thirds of the first intake of students come from private schools and just 22% from stateschools (the rest are foreigners and mature students). Mr Grayling hopes to counter the “tooposh” charge with outreach initiatives and generous bursaries for poorer students.

  人们对这种破坏性的创新说法不一。联合政府对此表示欢迎,但一个直言不讳的马克思主义学者TerryEagleton认为这种风险是“令人讨厌的”,不和谐的。其他批评家指出,相比格雷林的新学院,伦敦大学目前也提供类似且更为经济的课程。第一批学生中三分之二来自私立学校,只有22%来自国立学校( 剩下的国外学生和成年学生)。面对这些‘过于冠冕堂皇’的批评,格雷林希望以积极实践创新以及面向贫困生的丰厚奖学金予以反驳。

  The newcomer epitomizes a broadening of higher education, aided by a rise in maximum fees to9,000 pounds that makes students (and their parents) look around for value for money. Thegovernment has also eased rules on what qualifies as a university. The newly named Universityof Law, an outfit with several regional centres, is backed by a private-equity firm and offerstwo-year degree courses for highly motivated or cash-strapped students. Its hard sell standsout among more conventional university branding: the college’s website touts a graduatelegal qualification as if it were a soap powder—“Now with Masters included”.Otherinstitutions such as BPP University College, which bestows professional qualifications fromaccountancy to chiropractic, were given degree-awarding powers by the last Labourgovernment, but now want full university status.


  And the line between private and state-funded higher education is blurring in other ways.Established institutions including Imperial College, London and University College are alsothriving businesses, cross-subsidising studies and research which do not make money.Oxfordhas initiated a joint Master’s course in law and finance, crammed into nine months andcosting a hefty 21,000 pounds.


  Much has changed since the independent University of Buckingham (a non-profit operator)launched 30 years ago, teaching mainly business and economics. Today it has more Britishundergraduates than foreign ones and offers a range of subjects, including medicine. But therevolution is unfinished. One anomaly that makes life harder for independent providers isthat students can take out government-backed student loans at a favourable rate for only thefirst 6,000 pounds of their fees. At subsidised top universities, they can borrow the full yearlyfee of 9,000 pounds .


  The level playing field promised when the coalition came to power in 2010 remains a work inprogress. David Willetts, the universities minister, failed in a bid to allow for-profit educationfirms equal access to state funding. Many senior academics opposed the move, citing “derisorygraduation rates, crushing levels of debts and degrees of dubious value” from some for-profitAmerican companies. The issue has been shelved until 2015 at the earliest. When it comes tochanging higher education, even small innovations can provoke a noisy backlash.

  承诺的公平竞争自2010年联合政府上台后仍在进程中。教育大臣戴维·维利斯在允许盈利性的教育公司有平等获得政府资助的投标中失败。许多高级学者反对这个行为, 认为这是由一些以营利为主的美国公司带来的“低得可笑的毕业率,高得离谱的债务和一文不值的学位”。最早到2015年这个问题才会搁置。谈到高等教育改革,即使一些很小的创新也会产生争论不休的强烈反对。

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