At the beginning of 2012, I made some guesses for might happen in the world of HE in 2012. I thought it might be fun to have a look back to see how I had done. So here they are:
1. David Willetts and Vince Cable will remain in their respective positions
Score. I was right about that. I think there was a lot of speculation that one or the other would be dumped or that responsibilities for HE would move to the Department for Education. Thankfully, none of it came to fruition. I know it’s not fashionable but I think we are favoured with two of the Coalition’s most able, thoughtful and moderate Ministers here.
2. The Higher Education Bill will not materialise. Now that the fee system has been legislated for, the Government will conclude that they can make the vast majority of their desired reforms using delegated powers under current legislation
A lot of huffing and puffing from the sector and the media when this did not happen. It was never going to, it was only a matter of time before BIS Civil Servants worked that out.
3. Applications for university places will fall, but by much less than doom-mongers predict (no more than 4%)
This one is debatable I suppose and your view will be skewed by the University at which you work or represent. Overall figures were down by 9%, BUT if you look at A-Level entry (i.e. 18 year olds) the drop was far lower than predicted down 2.4%.
4. HEFCE will publish a list of Universities in financial difficulty
Wrong. Didn’t happen, or anything like it!
5. No universities will have to close or merge
I feel technically correct on this one. I was referring to Universities having to close or merge because of financial difficulty. However the Stalinist approach take by Leighton Andrews in Wales does mean that some Universities have been forced into marriage. I hope it works out well for them. The excessively hands on approach by the Welsh Assembly Government is worrying and there are signs of it in Scotland too.
6. QAA will launch a blog (I promised this last year, but failed to deliver!)
And they did.
7. A new UK league table will be launched with much fanfare
8. There will be serious talk of a new mission group made up of the top-10 recruiting institutions in the UK. It will not happen.
Score. There was and it didn’t!
So, on my count, I get 5 ½ out of 8 (69%, a decent 2:1!)