TIGA Comments on Government’s Plans for Higher Education and Review of Tuition Fees

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, said today that if the UK was to be a leading knowledge economy, more money would have to be spent on higher education, study of STEM subjects should be encouraged and that trade associations should play a key role in articulating employer skill needs. TIGA made the comments in response to the publication of the Government’s new framework for the future of higher education, Higher Ambitions and the announcement that Lord Browne of Madingley would conduct a review of higher education funding and tuition fees.

Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:

“In many ways, UK higher education is a success story. The UK has just one per cent of the world’s population yet achieves 12 per cent of the world’s scientific citations, while our humanities published 33 per cent of the world’s output between 2006 and 2008. The UK is also second only to the USA in the market for overseas students. The net annual contribution to the UK’s national income made by international non EU students in higher education is£5.5 billion.

“Yet if the UK is to remain a leading knowledge economy where more intelligent people are able to benefit from higher education and the quality of research is increased, then the UK must invest more in higher education. We cannot will the end without the means. The UK currently spends approximately 1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on higher education, whereas countries including the USA, South Korea and Canada spend between 2.5 and 2.9 per cent of GDP.

“Lord Browne of Madingley, chair of the recently appointed review of higher education funding and student finance, must develop proposals that lead to the UK investing more resources in higher education. If his review leads to higher tuition fees it is important that students are not deterred but are in fact incentivised to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Targeted subsidies towards tuition fees could help to achieve this objective.”

TIGA supported a number of specific proposals suggested in Higher Ambitions

· The Higher Education Funding Council for England is to give greater emphasis to courses and subjects which employers identify as a priority

· The plan to make new contestable funding available for universities that can demonstrate the capacity to increase the supply of graduates in STEM subjects

· The intention to create more part-time, work based, foundation degrees and other vocational programmes to enable adults to proceed to university (there are 6 million workers with 3 A levels but no experience of higher education)

· Strengthening links between business and academia through the work of the Research Councils, the Technology Strategy Board and HEFCE’s Higher Education Fund (the games industry supports the commercialisation of research and knowledge exchange measures)

· Encouraging universities to set out what students can expect in terms of the nature and quality of courses offered

Richard Wilson concluded:

“Trade associations like TIGA have a key role to play in articulating skill needs and course requirements not only to universities and education providers, but also to Government funded non-departmental bodies, like the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. As voluntary organisations of employers, trade associations are best placed to articulate business needs to third parties and to Government. TIGA looks forward to championing the interests of its employers and educational providers to Government and to others in the months ahead.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

Higher Ambitions can be found online at www.bis.gov.uk.

For information on Lord Browne of Madingley’s review of higher education funding and student finance click here.

About TIGA

TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s games industry. The majority of our members are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership.

TIGA's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We focus on three sets of activities: political representation, generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members. This means that Tiga members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.

For further information, please contact Eva Field, TIGA PR Manager on: M: 07814 039 983, or E: eva@tiga.org


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