UK Prime Minister Theresa May is launching a wide-ranging review into post-18 education that is expected to include an examination of university tuition fees.
In a speech in Derbyshire to announce the review, May will respond to criticism that university has become too expensive and challenge the belief that vocational training “is something for other people’s children”.
The prime minister will call for a parity of esteem between academic and technical options to “create a system of tertiary education that works for all our young people”.
She will say that “means equality of access to an academic university education which is not dependent on your background, and it means a much greater focus on the technical alternatives too”.
The government-led review–supported by an independent, external chair and panel–will identify ways to help people make more effective choices between the different options available after 18.
University tuition fees are currently capped at £9,250. The new education secretary, Damian Hinds, suggested over the weekend that the review would recommend that some universities cut their fees for social science and humanities courses.
In her speech later, May will pledge to use the review to look at “the whole post-18 education sector in the round, breaking down false boundaries between further and higher education, so we can create a system which is truly joined up.”
May will continue: “For those young people who do not go on to academic study, the routes into further technical and vocational training today are hard to navigate, the standards across the sector are too varied and the funding available to support them is patchy.”
“So now is the time to take action to create a system that is flexible enough to ensure that everyone gets the education that suits them.”
The panel’s report will be published at an interim stage and the review will conclude in early 2019.