Thatcher told to privatize universities, let them “sink or swim,” according to newly released records

January 6, 2016

Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was advised to privatize a set of publicly funded universities and to allow them to “sink or swim” in connection with consumer demand, according to newly released records from England's National Archives. The advice came from Lord Beloff, who had previously served as Vice-Chancellor of the private University of Buckingham, in a seminar to discuss education in 1985. The record adds that the proposal won support from several of the event’s attendees, who believed that the move would “prompt greater competition between universities” and “make education more demand-led.” Critics of the proposal, however, cited soaring student fees and a greater dependence on philanthropy as sources of concern. Times Higher Education