UPDATE 1st April 2023
Today a Department for Education spokesperson has flatly denied that there are plans for a new university. In an official statement they made it clear that, “At first we were convinced this was a true story and were 100% behind the idea. However, upon learning that the source was a part-time night shift cleaner who was also a drama student at a London university, we became suspicious. When we were informed that the new university would be financed by private enterprise, and one of the main investors is Disney, the penny dropped. The idea of the government funding a ‘Mickey Mouse’ university seemed too preposterous.”
Another spokesperson for the cabinet office also confirmed that, “Although it is a good idea in principle, we have not pursued it further. There is no chance that we would condone using taxpayers money to fund a ‘Mickey Mouse’ institution or a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree under any circumstances”.
Speculation has been mounting in Whitehall since Christmas that the government is planning to establish a new advanced university that will be the flagship for a new age. Some say this might also commemorate the passing of Queen Elizabeth II last summer, however this is uncertain.
The founding of a new university in the UK is shrouded in a veil of secrecy, but several government sources have hinted that the plans are advancing fast. The aim appears to be to establish the most technically advanced university in the world on a greenfield site somewhere in the middle of England.
An anonymous source, who is working for an outside contractor inside Whitehall, said they had discovered communications and papers relating to the new university in waste material. The top-secret files were dated the 30th of March 2023 and labelled ‘Operation future shock’. They revealed an announcement was due within days. The proposed working name for the university is the University of Middle England and it is billed as the flagship for higher education over the next fifty years. A site has already been identified on land originally earmarked for a cancelled section of the HS2 rail link somewhere in the middle of England.
What could this mean?
A spokesperson for the Department for Education was reticent about revealing any more details but accepted that such an institution would have to be “highly advanced and sustainable using the latest technology”. This means it would use new technology including AI to teach students. One radical plan would be to create a university entirely driven by AI bots and be “self-governing”. The site would house its own massive data centre using renewable energy sources. This idea has been proposed in the past by the company seeking to build a new wind powered Royal Yacht. Excess heat from the data centre would be used for other facilities on the site including accommodation and a swim centre. Student housing would be a cross between a Butlins holiday camp and Disney World.
A new paradigm for Higher Education.
The traditional model for a university degree would be abandoned in favour of flexible programmes that could be completed in as few as two years. Teaching would be delivered mostly online, and exclusively, via an AI bot service. On campus teaching would be in a small facility and consist of intensive one- or two-week small group residential sessions for practical lessons and tutorials. This would involve lectures delivered by AI holograms known as ‘holobots’.
A VC of one university, who asked not to be named, welcomed the idea saying, “It’s about time our universities blew the dust of its archaic traditions and embraced the future”. He seemed entranced by the idea of a high capacity, low cost education service delivered without much human involvement. He said, “We could easily control a much more reliable and efficient operation using the holobots without dissent or strikes. The possibilities are endless for a management that would literally own the future”.
When it was suggested that the idea was not such a new one, and the Open University had been operating since 1965 with a campus in Milton Keynes, a government spokesperson said, “I’ll have to get back to you this afternoon about that”.
Provided for TEFS by Dr Aprilis Primo