Who is UK's new universities minister?
A new face. Source: Flickr

A UK Cabinet reshuffle earlier this week saw many senior figures stay at their at their portfolios, but Jo Johnson was moved from his universities and science post to be Transport Minister and Minister for London.

Taking his place is Sam Gyimah, the Conservative East Surrey MP and former prisons minister, who will work alongside Damian Hinds, the newly appointed Education Secretary, according to the BBC. Hinds replaces Justine Greening, after Greening refused to move departments and resigned.

The 41-year-old Oxford alumnus had previously worked with the Department of Education as a parliamentary under-secretary of state in the department between 2015 and 2016, according to Times Higher Education.

Gyimah, who studied philosophy, politics and economics at Somerville College and was president of the Oxford Union, had worked in Goldman Sachs before switching to a career in politics.

He joins the list of promising young stars May is trying to promote in this reshuffle.

HuffPost reported that Johnson’s move comes in the wake of a row over the appointment of Toby Young, a journalist who has also set up free schools, to the new Office for Students.

His appointment has met with public backlash over his previous comments about women, LGBT people and the disabled. Young announced yesterday morning he will not be taking up his position at the universities regulator.

But, not everyone is too pleased with Gyimah as the new universities minister. From his voting record on education to his attempt to obstruct a gay pardon law, these are what some Twitter users have to say:

For Universities UK president Dame Janet Beer, her priorities for the new minister include better post-study work visas for international students, promoting social mobility in universities and securing Britain’s long-term participation in the European Union programmes Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.

Beer said she looked forward to working with Gyimah “to develop policy that supports universities to maximise their positive impact on the economy, society and students”.

“The promised review of tertiary education funding in England and establishing the new regulatory framework and Office for Students will likely be top of the new minister’s in-tray,” Beer said.

In a Twitter thread, Times Higher Education invited users to voice out their questions and opinions to Gyimah using the #DearSam hashtag, which has seen replies on issues ranging from the declining participation of mature students in higher education to the inclusion of international students in the government’s net migration data. Here are some other issues users brought up:

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