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  • De Montfort University’s Square Mile Project: the university as a local public good

    By Dominic Shellard and John Craig –  Across all of the UK’s public services, there is a growing movement towards greater engagement with the communities they serve. To some extent, this is happening in response to challenges such as funding cuts, increased competition, and from a national reassessment of their economic and social role. To some extent, it is happening because many public services are fundamentally seeing themselves differently – as more open, and more collaborative than they have been traditionally. In the past, engagement […]

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  • Bursting bubbles in higher education

    By Mark Leach – In higher education, policy bubbles are commonplace. They float around the sector drawing disproportionate levels of interest and as they grow, they become less rooted in evidence, research or coherent thought. It is important to understand these bubbles if we are to improve policy-making in higher education, a project that has never been more important. Shortly after tulips found their way across Europe in the 17th century, their exotic and beautiful qualities quickly made them a […]

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  • Education: from a public value to a positional good

    By John Holmwood –  British higher education is entering into a period of severe disruption brought about by the government’s recent policies for higher education. These are designed to increase private investment in the sector and make it more attractive to for-profit activities, including degree provision and cooperation between existing education institutions and for-profit partners. In fact, a significant increase in private investment will come from the increased student fees that are designed to replace direct public funding via the block teaching grant from the funding […]

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  • A private education in times of austerity?

    By Carl Lygo –  We are seeing a tremendous demand for quality university education worldwide but a serious lack of global supply, just as new technologies are improving access to such quality education. In 2000 it was estimated that globally there were 97.3 million students in higher education; by 2012 this had reached over 150 million and some predictions suggest there will be as many as 300 million students by 20251. It is amazing to think that by 2020, four countries will account for over 50% […]

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  • Onwards and upwards: the benefits of part-time study

    Onwards and upwards: the benefits of part-time study

    By Claire Callender and David Wilkinson –  In 2008, 31% of the UK workforce had a Level 4 qualification or above, placing the UK in 12th position in international rankings (UKCES, 2010). To improve the UK’s competitiveness and its economic strength, this proportion needs to increase and the workforces’ skill levels raised. Part-time higher education (HE) study has a particularly significant role to play now and in the future in raising, updating, and improving the skill levels of people already in employment, ensuring they possess […]

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  • Mature policies for higher education access

    Mature policies for higher education access

    By Nick Pearce –     Over the last two decades, higher education has been a growth sector in almost all advanced and developing economies. On average across Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, graduation rates from university-level education have increased by a huge 21 percentage points in the past 13 years. The rate of change has been such that the UK – despite large increases in higher education enrolments – has slipped to mid-table in the OECD […]

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  • The students of tomorrow

    The students of tomorrow

    By Aaron Porter – For those of you watching the recent debate on English higher education funding on our TV screens and on the front pages of our newspapers, you could be forgiven for thinking that higher education was predominantly made up of full-time undergraduates, largely aged between 18-22. Of course that is not the case, and is increasingly less likely to be the case as we start to get under the skin of an ever-changing and diverse higher education […]

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  • The purpose and process of lifelong learning: all work and no play?

    The purpose and process of lifelong learning: all work and no play?

    By Ezri Carlebach – The term ‘lifelong learning’ has its modern origins in post World War I reconstruction efforts. In view of the extension of suffrage, and with a least one eye on the principles of the October Revolution in Russia, the Adult Education Committee of the Ministry of Reconstruction declared in 1919 that; “adult education… is a permanent national necessity, an inseparable aspect of citizenship, and therefore should be both universal and lifelong”.[1] The use of lifelong learning as […]

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  • Changing student expectations

    Changing student expectations

    By Jamie O’Connell – The growing cost of higher education the world over means that the motivations for attending and the expectations of the service received are changing. In the past year two major events have happened to profoundly influence UK higher education (HE) policy, the impact of which won’t be fully felt by students until 2012. Firstly a Coalition Government, led by the Conservative party, was voted in to power in April 2010. The Conservatives have looked to aggressively […]

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