Thursday 5 May 2011

Offshore Universities

I paid for my children to go through University in the United Kingdom. The family income was too high for any kind of grant so we had to pay the tuition fees and for the accommodation costs of our kids.  At the time we thought the tuition fees were high considering the poor quality and  low number of hours of actual tuition hours received in return.

Since then the university establishment have been awarding themselves substantial salary and pension increases causing the costs of university education to rise substantially above the rate of inflation. The government has said the central purse has to cut back a bit, but at the same time the universities want more money to feed their bloated salaries and administration costs. The solution adopted by the Government and the Universities is to raise money by charging annual tuition fees of £9000. This additional taxation will be deferred by offering loans to the students. In effect the tax burden is postponed to be paid in the future.

Universities in the UK are hopelessly inefficient and do not offer good value for money at the new prices. There is however a solution in a business method used by business and government in the provision of manufacturing and services. It is called offshoring. The work is shifted to another country where local wages and salaries are a lot lower. Many of the overseas universities in places like India have excellent academic standards. Given the modern capabilities of the Internet for voice and video conferencing there is no reason why UK based students should not take their degrees and exams through a process of distant learning with a suitably accredited offshore university. This would sensibly reduce the amount of money the public has to spend on providing university graduates for our country. The money saved by not utilizing the expensive UK universities could be used to regenerate the UK industrial base.
UK universities would then have the freedom to reshape their expenditure and slim down to meet the new challenge. In fact they could purchase offshored lecturer hours to reduce their own costs.

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