Poppleton’s leading private for-profit higher education college, the Great British College of Business, Computing, Technology and Management, has been “shamed” in a new report from the government’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office.
The Poppleton college, which is wholly owned by the US private equity company Fleece and Overhead, has recently been going from strength to strength as it takes up its share of the £900 million that the Student Loans Company will this year bestow upon students at colleges run by private providers.
But it would appear that the Poppleton college, in common with some other private providers (including the London School of Science and Technology, ICON College of Technology and Management and the UK College of Business and Computing), has had a student dropout rate above 20 per cent in recent years, as compared with the 4 per cent dropout rate across the rest of the sector.
However, the Managing Director (formerly the Vice-Chancellor) of the Poppleton private college, Professor Jake Gogetter, claimed that such figures could easily give the impression that an institution such as his own ruthlessly recruited as many students as it could in order to grab their tuition fees and was only too delighted when a large number dropped out, leaving their fees behind them.
This impression, said Professor Gogetter, was “only being peddled” by those who were “ideologically opposed” to people making fat profits out of higher education.
“Always remember”, he continued, “that what we are talking about here is a basic freedom: the freedom for private for-profit colleges of higher education to grow and grow without any effective controls whatsoever. It is what I like to describe to my applauding shareholders at our AGM as ‘the Willetts bonus’.”
“I have every sympathy with Falmouth.”
That was how Mike Cram, our Head of Spatial Optimisation, responded to the news that Falmouth University is to close its degree in contemporary crafts.
Although Mr Cram admitted that he’d never before heard of Falmouth University, he “totally supported” that institution’s decision to close a course on the grounds that it had, in the words of its senior deputy vice-chancellor Geoff Smith, necessitated “heavy space utilisation”.
Mr Cram said that very similar “space utilisation considerations” had lain behind Poppleton’s recent decisions to close its own degrees in Ballroom Dancing, Marine Biology and Dry-Stone Wall Building.
Neither did Mr Cram have any sympathy for those critics who had described the Falmouth decision as leading to a “contraction of the craft economy”.
Craft, said Mr Cram, was all very well on shelves, but no one concerned with space utilisation could possibly justify having large areas of the campus taken up with hacksaws, soldering irons, embroidery needles, half-made quilts and pottery wheels.
Indeed, said Mr Cram, it was the “brute exigencies of space utilisation” that had led Poppleton to develop its own “space minimal” degrees in Microeconomics, Nanotechnology and Contemporary Welsh Philosophy.
Thought for the week
(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)
“Our special celebration evening for those who have conquered their former obesity will be held this Friday. Join us for half a cup of lemon juice and the celebratory release into the night sky of two dozen gastric balloons.”