University 'way out of recession'
A tougher jobs market this year prompted a surge in applications to university in the UK - and pressures on public spending limited the expansion of student numbers, leaving an estimated 40,000 well-qualified applicants without places.
Yes, I did know that times are tough all over the world, but I was stunned by "40,000 well-qualified applicants without places." Where I come from, if your child doesn't get into one university, there is always another less prestigious university or jr. college to choose from. Why would 40,000 potential good students find themselves with no higher educational options?
Today, I think I figured out the answer.
Willetts signals way in for private universities
Plans to let more private universities into England's higher education system could feature in a new Higher Education Bill, a minister has said.
The article has a lot about funding that I didn't really follow that closely, but this little tidbit jumped out at me. Not only does the government ration health care in the UK, they ration higher education. Currently, there is only 1 or 2 private universities in all of England. The government literally has a strangled hold on higher education.
I'm still trying to make sense of the strange laws that govern university education in the UK.
From Wikipedia: Universities in the United Kingdom
Universities in the United Kingdom have generally been instituted by Royal Charter, Papal Bull, Act of Parliament or an instrument of government under the Education Reform Act 1988; in any case generally with the approval of the Privy Council, and only such recognized bodies can award degrees of any kind.
...The vast majority of United Kingdom universities are government financed, with only one private university (the University of Buckingham) where the government does not subsidise the tuition fees.
To put this all in perspective: (According to InfoPlease)
In the United States, as of 2005, there were almost 3 private 4-year universities for every public university [629 public 4-year universities vs. 1845 private 4-year universities]. And, our universities score high in the international university rankings.
University rankings dominated by US, with Harvard top
The US accounts for 72 of the world's 200 best universities, according to an international league table.
The Times Higher Education magazine's table, based on a number of criteria, including teaching, research and staff and student mix, has Harvard top.
Only five British institutions are ranked among the top 50, with Cambridge and Oxford in joint sixth place.
As much as I think there are problems in the United States university system, apparently it is not nearly as bad as in the UK.
I think there is a moral to this story. To improve the quality and access to education, we need move private schools and fewer government regulations.