Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Melania’s jacket: What did it mean?

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

South Sudan peace deal attempt fails as Kiir rejects Machar

Read more

THE DEBATE

Zero Tolerance: Does Border Security Trump Compassion?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Let's become French!

Read more

FOCUS

Taking sides: The dual-nationality footballers playing at the World Cup

Read more

FASHION

Dior trots out Cruise collection at Chantilly stables

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

France's Pelagos sanctuary, a haven for whales and dolphins

Read more

#THE 51%

Developing a code of their own: Are women leading the tech revolution in Paris?

Read more

#TECH 24

Motorsport innovation

Read more

Europe

UK universities recoil as MP asks how they teach Brexit

© LOIC VENNIN / AFP | The Great Court of Trinity College Cambridge is pictured at Cambridge University, on October 29, 2009.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-10-24

British universities rounded on a lawmaker on Tuesday for asking them how they teach Brexit to students, a move many academics felt might be a prelude to censorship.

The furore around the letter, which the government distanced itself from, highlighted tensions in Britain's higher education sector where many have concerns over the country's decision to leave the European Union.

Conservative lawmaker Chris Heaton-Harris, who has a role in organising how the ruling Conservatives vote in parliament, sent the letter to university chiefs, requesting "the names of professors at your establishment who are involved in the teaching of European affairs, with particular reference to Brexit."

"If I could be provided with a copy of the syllabus and links to the online lectures which relate to this area, I would be much obliged," he added.

David Green, vice chancellor at the University of Worcester, said the letter sent a chill down his spine.

"I realised that his letter just asking for information appears so innocent but is really so, so dangerous," he said in a statement.

Green said he thought he had been targeted after he spoke about wanting a better deal for English students.

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UK which represents university principals, said: "This request suggests an alarming attempt to censor or challenge academic freedom."

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said Heaton-Harris sent the letter in his capacity as a Member of Parliament, not on behalf of the government.

"What the Prime Minister has always been very clear on is her respect for the freedom and independence of universities and the role the play in creating open and stimulating debate," he said.

Around 90 percent of academics believe that Brexit will have an adverse impact on the higher education sector, according to a survey by trade union the University and College Union (UCU) in January.

The Russell Group of top British universities including Oxford and Cambridge said the content of courses was a matter for individual institutions ansd that every perspective on Brexit would be taught.

"Whether academics supported leave or remain at the (2016) referendum has no bearing on their ability to deliver stimulating, challenging courses which include a full range of views and opinions on our relationship with Europe," said Jessica Cole, head of policy at the Russell Group.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2017-10-24

  • UK

    UK Brexit position is more uncertain than ever

    Read more

  • BREXIT

    Much more work to be done after Brexit summit, Macron says

    Read more

  • EUROPEAN UNION

    EU's Barnier says Brexit divorce settlement talks at an 'impasse'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)