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  • The consequences of growth

    By Emran Mian – The Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK estimated the value of the country’s human capital in 2010.  What they were trying to capture in the calculation is “the knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes embodied in individuals that facilitate the creation of personal, social and economic well-being”. Since then, they have consulted on the methodology and recognise that the estimate can be improved. The size of the estimate is startling: £17.12tn, or two and a […]

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  • Good for Everyone: The Scottish Model for Higher Education

    y Michael Russell – At the heart of the Scottish Government’s approach to higher education are two core principles. The first is that we invest in education as a societal good. Secondly, we believe that access to education should be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay. As a small, learning nation, Scotland values its university sector. Last September, the annual QS rankings again showed three of our universities in the world’s top 100. To put […]

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  • The Brain Drain

    The Brain Drain

    By Penny Egan – Apparently there is a brain drain of bright young students to the USA. This seems to be the storyline that the British media has taken ever since the Laura Spence affair, where the former comprehensive school student accused Oxford of elitism for not admitting her despite being qualified and happily accepted a place at Harvard. Despite many efforts to get the other side of the story aired, the UK’s ‘third estate’ doesn’t seem inclined to print […]

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  • “The detail, the colour, the tone, the air, the life”: Academia in, against and beyond the University

    David Kernohan – For all the extras that a modern institution can offer prospective students, the unique proposition of university life is regular interaction with academics and para-academics. It is the one thing that cannot be offered elsewhere, and the one thing that now seems too expensive to offer in universities. This, obviously, is just one aspect of a larger socio-political issue, linking to wider contemporary workplace trends like deskilling and casualisation. But here is not my place to make […]

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  • The Social Mobility University

    The Social Mobility University

    By Dr. Graeme Atherton – There is a battle for the soul of higher education in the early 21st century. There are those who want to return the university to the purity of a mid-20th century golden age, and those who want to make it more ‘entrepreneurial’, ‘edgeless’ or ‘borderless’. But there are few voices in academia willing to articulate and advocate the ‘social mobility’ university and this presents a major problem. There are a procession of politicians from across […]

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  • A Vision for the Future of Higher Education

    A Vision for the Future of Higher Education

    By Liam Byrne – It was Ronald Reagan who said: ‘it’s true that hard work didn’t kill anyone but I figure why take the chance’. The President was of course being charming. But the truth is that the lack of good jobs today, means that it is harder than ever to make a living simply by working hard. Working people in the UK are on average £1,600 worse off a year since the 2010 general election; a family today has […]

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  • (R)evolution in higher education

    By Louis Coiffait – Are universities currently experiencing an unprecedented volume, velocity and variety of change? And if so how are they reacting now and how should they react in the future? What are the key transformations taking place and are they revolutionary or evolutionary? This editorial reflects on these broad questions through the lessons learned from the articles in this edition, as well as from others across the wider Blue Skies collection and beyond. In the first fifteen months of the project so far […]

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  • Making our higher education system accessible to all

    By John Widdowson – The debate around the future shape of higher education in England has often seemed to focus solely on the impact of those changes in student funding on full-time students moving directly from school to higher level study. Despite the fundamental shift in funding from direct state support towards a system made up almost entirely of student loans, data from the University and Colleges Application Service (UCAS) shows that applications for full-time courses from this group of […]

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  • Fair access

    By Tessa Stone – In 2012 UK higher education is at a crossroads in terms of access. We hold our collective breath as we await the immediate impact of the new fee structure and student number controls, whilst attempting to predict the longer term consequences of the demise of Aimhigher and Connexions, the advent of Free Schools, and proposed changes to the A level curriculum, all set against the backdrop of economic recession and Plan A(usterity). But if we are […]

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