Britain to review into university tuition, education funding

Updated 2018-02-20 10:51:02 Xinhua

The biggest ever review into university education in Britain was announced Monday by British Prime Minister Theresa May.

In a keynote speech at Derby College in Derbyshire, May said the current post-18 system was not working as well as it could for young people. She also described university tuition in England as one of the most expensive in the world.

May acknowledged concerns with the current funding system of university education and pledged to make it fairer. Currently, most students pay annual tuition fees of around 38,000 U.S. dollars over a typical three-year post-graduate degree course.

May said she shared the serious concerns many young people, their parents and grandparents, have about aspects of the current system.

The review that May announced will examine the system of student funding and how students and graduates contribute to the cost of their studies.

May said it would focus on four key questions -- accessibility, incentivising completion in the university sector, delivering the skills the country needs, and ensuring higher education costs represent value for money for students and taxpayers.

May said the goal of making university truly accessible to young people from every background was not made easier by a funding system which leaves students from the lowest-income households bearing the highest levels of debt.

The review will also examine how people from disadvantaged backgrounds can be given an equal chance to succeed.

The prime minister said: "One of the great social achievements of the last half-century has been the transformation of an academic university education from something enjoyed almost-exclusively by a social elite into something which is open to everyone."

She set out her vision of a country where background does not define a person's future, and class distinctions are a thing of the past.

The review will identify ways to help young people make more effective choices when they leave high school. She urged people to throw away the outdated attitude that university is the only desirable route for young people.

Political commentators said May's review was a government response to a pledge by the main opposition Labour Party to scrap tuition fees in England, matching the system in Scotland where there are no fees. Labour's policy is credited with attracting increasing numbers of young supporters.

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