Higher Education Minister accuses Universities of offering ‘Hogwarts syllabus’

Commenting on UK Higher Education, Ms Jenkyns, said:

“The current system would rather our young people get a degree in Harry Potter studies, than in construction.”

She went on to accuse British Universities and Further Education establishments of feeding students “a diet of critical race theory, anti-British history and Social Marxism.”

The minister also criticised secondary schools, saying:

“Our schools must be bastions of freedom. Teachers must be impartial and not push left-wing agendas onto students.”

A spokesman for the Russell Group of 24 research-based universities said ‘These are not the sort of remarks on which we would normally wish to comment’. When asked if Ms Jenkyns remarks had any basis in fact, the spokesman simply replied ‘Not so far as I am aware’.

Fact checks

In fact, Durham University did offer ‘Harry Potter Studies’ as a single 10 week optional module as part of an Education Studies BA. however, the aim of the module was to offer J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and their cultural impacts as a case study in understanding contemporary society. The module did not form the basis for a degree course.

Educational commentator Sam Freedman tweeted:
“Number of students currently studying architecture, building, planning and engineering = 245,395. Number currently studying Harry Potter Studies = 0”
Mr. Freedman added:  “The broader point here is that anti-HE Tories, of which, sadly, the HE Minister is one – seem to think everyone does humanities degrees. But around three quarters of students are studying sciences, business or law. They’re choosing vocational courses.”

Another commentator, Trading law consultant Pippa Musgrave, commented: “

“I know universities who have courses in Civil Engineering, Architecture, Building Technology, Chartered Surveying, and Land Management.  I cannot think of a university where the course is described as ‘Construction’”.

Previous controversy

Andrea Jenkyns, an enthusiastic Brexiteer and member of the European Research Group, was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State of Education on 8 July 2022 in the last days of the Johnson Government.

Mr. Jenkyns immediately attracted criticism from education unions for ‘showing the finger’ to demonstrators on her way into Downing St. She was further announced as the Skills, Further and Higher Education Minister later that month. Her previous role was as an Assistant Government Whip.

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