We must negotiate carefully—particularly when it comes to higher educationby Neil Carmichael / September 29, 2016 / Leave a comment
We will hear many calls for what has been dubbed a “Hard Brexit” from our membership of the European Union at the Conservative Party Conference, which begins on Sunday. When we ask ourselves what this means, the answer is: little more than tumbling out of our obligations with scant regard for the consequences.
Already, in my role as Chair of the Education Select Committee, it is clear the consequences of leaving the European Union will have a major impact on our universities. The complexity of unravelling EU relationships and funding in the higher education sector alone should give pause for thought. That is why I welcome the Prime Minister being clear she will only trigger Article 50 when she considers she can secure the best deal for Britain.
The Education Committee has today launched an inquiry into the impact of Brexit on higher education—with the clear aim for the inquiry to seek to inform the public and influence the Brexit negotiations. The inquiry follows the expansion of the Committee’s remit to include higher education, further education and skills in response to changes at the Department for Education.
There are fears that Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union will have a negative impact on higher education. There are concerns that we will not be able to attract the brightest students from across Europe, and that we must make sure UK universities maintain their places among the world’s best. We will also look at the ramifications for Britons who want to work and study at higher education institutions in the EU.
I am keen to hear from university leaders, academics, students and others, as we examine the opportunities for higher education post-Brexit and consider what the government’s priorities should be for the sector going into the negotiations with the EU.
The referendum on Europe has brought the challenges facing the UK into sharp relief. I believe the next few years will be tough but, if we can confront the causes of the productivity gap between the UK and our competitors, take action to improve numeracy and literacy in our workforce, improve social mobility in order to make the best use of the talents and be ready to make the necessary sacrifices, we can all try and make a success of the decision to…