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Jersey university back on agenda

News | Published:

EDUCATION Minister Rod Bryans has agreed to take a fresh look at the possibility of a university in Jersey after several Members challenged him about a new university recently opened in Gibraltar.

The minister was answering a question in the States from St Saviour Deputy Peter McLinton, who asked Deputy Bryans whether he would consider a specialist Island university focusing on agriculture, fisheries, finance and hospitality.

UK university tuition fees for 2014/2015

  • Band A (clinical years for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science) - £24,065
  • Band B (science and engineering courses and non-clinical years of medicine) - £10,823
  • Band C (studio and workshop-based courses, eg IT, art and design, health) - £8,521
  • Band D (classroom-based courses, eg humanities, social studies) - £6,795

Tuition fees for Highlands College for 2014/2015

  • Band 1 (IT for Business full-time degree) - £6,830
  • Band 2 (social Science, childhood studies, financial services and business management full-time degrees) - £5,830
  • Band 3 (art and design part-time degree) - £3,415

Deputy McLinton suggested that without a university, some Island children were in danger of being 'left behind'.

Initially the minister said during the States sitting on Tuesday that Jersey already had a 'campus' that included Highlands College, the Jersey International Business School and the Jersey Institute of Law, with a nursing degree also available in the Island.

He said that graduate courses at Highlands had recently been rebranded as 'University College Jersey', with nine specialist degrees available, as well as several post-graduate courses including an MBA.

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Deputy Sam Mézec asked whether the minister was aware that Gibraltar, with a population of only 30,000 inhabitants, had just opened a new university.

And Deputy Montfort Tadier asked whether any States funding was given to the Jersey Institute for Advanced Studies, which had brought over speakers including John Redwood and organised a video link with Noam Chomsky as part of the Branchage film festival.

Education Scrutiny Panel chairman Louise Doublet wanted to know whether the minister had considered more creative ideas such as online lectures.

  • There are local students at universities across Britain, however the most popular study locations are those closest to home, with six of the top ten universities located on the south coast of England.
  • The universities of Brighton and Winchester have the highest number of Jersey students, with Sussex, Plymouth and Exeter also proving popular.
  • Aside from the south coast, Loughborough and Liverpool also have a high intake of Islanders.

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Deputy Andrew Lewis said he had met the vice-chancellor of the Gibraltar University, and that Malta also had a university that had fuelled 'significant' economic expansion.

Deputy Bryans said that the only gap as far as he was concerned was for a digital university.

He said that the Maltese university had been based on private enterprise, with 'people with passion, creativity and innovation' being the ones to drive it forward.

However, he added that he would be happy to speak to the vice-chancellor in Gibraltar.

'Gibraltar can do it, Malta can do it,' said Deputy McLinton, adding that establishing the seed of a university in Jersey would go some way towards making sure 'no child is left behind'.

CORRADO Anderson, a father of four who had to remortgage his home to fund his child's education at university, said he believed the States should offer a loans system similar to the UK to help people go to university. Currently parents can apply for a grant, which is non-repayable, depending on their income and the course their child is taking.

Mr Anderson said he had four children of similar age and that some of his children might have to consider other forms of higher education because it was so expensive.

'For families with more than one child the fees can turn out to be more than around £30,000 a year and you just can't, as a parent, afford to send your child to university for that sort of money,' he said.

'What is different to the UK is that the government offer the loans through the Student Loans Company, which took up the majority of the slack in the UK when the fees rose. I think if they offered that in Jersey it would at least give parents another option.'

Attending university in Holland is cost-effective, compared to the UK
  • Back in November, the JEP reported that Island students were being urged to consider studying abroad to gain an advantage over UK university students when applying for their first job.
  • Andy Gibbs, the Island’s head of Careers and Learning Support, said at the time that graduates from European, North American, New Zealand and Australian universities stand out from those who study in Britain – and that those who choose the European route are likely to pay a fraction of the price.
  • Mr Gibbs said that the number of courses taught in English across the European Union had increased in the past few years and that many were far cheaper than similar courses in England, Scotland and Wales. He said that Dutch colleges and universities were particularly attractive, with Jersey students with British passports paying in the region of £1,700 a year – less than a quarter of the £9,000 or more charged in the UK.
  • Although a comparatively low number of students were studying abroad, with approximately 25 students outside the UK, he said there had been increased interest, especially in European universities.

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