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 Post subject: No need to panic--ELTE is not the only chatoic university
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2005 4:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:39 pm
Posts: 34
Hey everyone,

I created this topic to see if there are other ELTE students who, amidst all those end-of-the-world spirited posts, want to take the time and rationally assess ELTE's situation. Not very good obvioulsy but could be worse, and, what's more important, other places have their crosses/problems too. These other places include, according to the following article, Oxford too!

I have just read this article in the Economist (couple of months old though):

May 21, 2005
U.S. Edition

The row going on in Oxford is passionate but beside the point

IT MAY be just as well for Oxford University's reputation that this week's meeting of Congregation, its 3,552-strong governing body, was held in secret, for the air of civilised rationality that is generally supposed to pervade donnish conversation has lately turned fractious. That's because the vice-chancellor, the nearest thing the place has to a chief executive, has proposed the most fundamental reforms to the university since the establishment of the college system in 1249; and a lot of the dons and colleges don't like it (see page 27).

The trouble with Oxford is that it is unmanageable. Its problems—the difficulty of recruiting good dons and of getting rid of bad ones, concerns about academic standards, severe money worries at some colleges—all spring from that. John Hood, who was recruited as vice-chancellor from the University of Auckland and is now probably the most-hated antipodean in British academic life, reckons he knows how to solve this, and has proposed to reduce the power of dons and colleges and increase that of university administrators.

Mr Hood is right that the university's management structure needs an overhaul. But radical though his proposals seem to those involved in the current row, they do not go far enough. The difficulty of managing Oxford stems only partly from the nuttiness of its system of governance; the more fundamental problem lies in its relationship with the government. That's why Mr Hood should adopt an idea that was once regarded as teetering on the lunatic fringe of radicalism, but these days is discussed even in polite circles. The idea is independence.

Oxford gets around £5,000 ($9,500) per undergraduate per year from the government. In return, it accepts that it can charge students only £1,150 (rising to £3,000 next year) on top of that. Since it probably costs at least £10,000 a year to teach an undergraduate, that leaves Oxford with a deficit of £4,000 or so per student to cover from its own funds.

If Oxford declared independence, it would lose the £52m undergraduate subsidy at least. Could it fill the hole? Certainly. America's top universities charge around £20,000 per student per year. The difficult issue would not be money alone: it would be balancing numbers of not-so-brilliant rich people paying top whack with the cleverer poorer ones they were cross-subsidising. America's top universities manage it: high fees mean better teaching, which keeps competition hot and academic standards high, while luring enough donations to provide bursaries for the poor. It should be easier to extract money from alumni if Oxford were no longer state-funded.

The government could help or hinder this plan. If it were feeling vengeful, it could cut Oxford's research money, currently £150m, as well as the subsidy to undergraduates. The instincts of most Labour politicians—including Gordon Brown, the chancellor, who has had a dust-up with Oxford over its supposed elitism—would be to stand in the way of independence. But Tony Blair might just take a different view. Last year he forced higher tuition fees through Parliament because he believed that making the middle classes pay for more of their university education would be both fairer to poor people and better for universities. If Oxford went all the way, charged well-off people the full cost of their degrees, and flourished academically and financially as America's top universities have done, then it would prove his point.

Please feel free to comment on it!

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