Patten rebuffs ‘angry middle class’

first_imgHowever, Patten was quick to deny that “the sky should be the limit” as far as tuition fees are concerned and stressed the need for a “fixed scale which would relate the amount of income that universities and colleges can charge for tuition to the amount of money they provided for bursaries for less well off students.”He called for “needs-blind access to Oxford and Cambridge” to ensure that students from a less well-off background are not discouraged from applying to Oxford, stating that “the big issue is how much we are able to spend on bursaries for less well off students who might otherwise be discouraged from coming to Oxford.”“I think it’s imperative that we hang on to the notion of a complete meritocracy at Oxford and Cambridge provided we can demonstrate that there is integrity of the system. It makes it easier to resist pressure from some on the left that we should have social code preference in our entry procedures, rather than trying to get the best wherever they come from.”Although Patten is highly sceptical of the government quotas on the number of state school students that Oxford should admit – he refers to these as “arbitrary, central planning quotas” – he is proud of the efforts that Oxford puts in to its outreach scheme. “We spend over 2 million a year to get kids from schools that haven’t traditionally sent them to Oxford. It’s very impressive the amount we’re doing around the place.”It is his belief in meritocracy that underpins his rejection of a legacy point preference scheme in use in many American universities use, a system whereby applicants are given priority if their parents are alumni or have donated money to the university the children get preference.He called such a system “a terrible idea,” adding that George W Bush’s gaining of a place at the prestigious Harvard Business School “must have been unrelated to intelligence.”However, he did admit that donations from private benefactors would need to increase in order to address funding. Last May, the Oxford Campaign was launched which aimed to raise a minimum of £1.25 billion and “increase the participation rate of alumni giving.”However, he admitted that donations from alumni would not be sufficient to make up for the loss of funding through the current recession. “The difference with America,” he explains, “is that the American taxpayer spends twice as much on Higher Education and further learning. If you then add to that the amount that comes privately America has this huge lead over all European universities.” Oxford University Chancellor Chris Patten has attacked the “angry middle class parents” who have criticised his proposal of a rise in tuition fees, in an interview with Cherwell.The Chancellor also spoke of his belief in the need for a removal of the cap on top-up fees, driven by his “overwhelming concern” for the future of the university’s finances.“Over the decade we’ve doubled the number of university students and halved the money available to support them,” he explained. “That has huge implications for university finance. There are only three places you can get money from for a university: private benefactors, the taxpayer or tuition fees.”He added, “my overwhelming concern is that I think universities are going to have a very tough time in the next few years and in order to be competitive we need more funding. In those circumstances what do you do – do you simply say we must settle for universities having to be even more badly financed, or do you look for alternatives?”He stated that universities should “by and large be able to set fees for tuition related to the bursaries they provide for less well off students.”He attacked the “angry middle class parents” who have criticised his suggestion that the cap on tuition fees should be lifted, labelling their behaviour “paradoxical” and “bizarre.”He said, “do I think it’s paradoxical at the moment that quite a lot of parents pay a fortune to put their children through private schools and then resent it when they have to pay when universities charge more than 3000 a year. I think it’s absolutely crazy. So I’m unregenerate and have been for, well, since the late 1980s, in advocating tuition fees.”He added, “parents are prepared to spend £20-30000 a year, or if it’s a year £10-15000 a year getting their children into university but then resent paying more than £3000 when their child is at university.”last_img read more

Argentine ‘Hooligans’ Barred from Eagles’ Match in Russia

first_imgFemi Solaja with reportsThe usual vociferous Argentine football fans that have held sway at almost every World Cup matches between the Super Eagles and the South American nation will be absent this summer when the two countries face-off in the final Group D match in Russia next month.Reason, the Argentine government yesterday confirmed that it will sign an accord with Russia aimed at preventing the country’s known more than 3, 000 hooligans who are expected to travel to this year’s World Cup from doing so.At the last edition of the tournament in Brazil, several Albeceleste fans in their thousands stormed the Estadio Beira in Porto Alegre, which was a border city between the host country and Argentina and harassed many Nigerian supporters before the 3-2 win against the African representative. Record of thefts and harassments were prevalent at every venue when the former world champions play at the tournament thus raising a major concern to both the government and the games’ world governing body FIFA.In view of this development, the new deal, which will be formally signed in the coming days, includes the names of fans banned from Argentine soccer grounds and other known members of the notorious barras bravas, the organised fan groups who have wreaked havoc at local stadiums.“A list of 400 names of Argentines who will not be able to enter stadiums was handed over and it is estimated that the definitive database will have around 3000 names,” said, the National Director of Security at Argentine football matches, Guillermo Madero.The information will be shared with airlines and Russian immigration authorities and Argentine officials say the Fan ID, which supporters get when they buy tickets to the games, will act as another barrier.Argentina will also send six law enforcement officials to Russia to help coordinate with local police and officials from the other 30 competing nations.The barras are fixtures at most top Argentine clubs and have been responsible for much of the violence that has sullied the domestic game in recent years.In addition to launching violent attacks on other fans, and sometimes even players, they control the sale of some tickets and are often involved in other illegal activities outside football.Argentine media have reported that barras from Boca Juniors met with their counterparts from Russian clubs Dynamo Moscow and Zenit St Petersburg in February and officials are taking as many preventive measures as possible.“We believe that the barras will go to Russia whatever but they are not going to get into the grounds,” said Juan Manuel Lugones, the executive secretary of the agency set up to prevent violence at sports events in Buenos Aires.Some 44, 882 Argentines have bought tickets for the tournament, according to the latest FIFA figures.The South Americans will kick off their Group D campaign on June 16 in Moscow against Iceland, before facing Croatia in Nizhni Novgorod and Super Eagles of Nigeria in St Petersburg for the last group match.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more