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  • Putting students first

    By David Willetts –  Across the world, more people aspire to higher education. It is a growth sector in mature economies and developing countries. The evidence on the benefits of higher  education is overwhelming: it is good for individuals, good for the economy and good for society. That list helps answer the question of how to pay for it. It has to be a mixed model in which the direct beneficiaries contribute but others do too. Here in the UK the Dearing report and […]

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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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  • Degree classification for the 21st Century

    By Carl Gilleard –  A university education is greater than the sum of its parts: not just a series of course options, but a challenge to think about the connections between these elements; not merely a chance to make friends for life, but an opportunity to work alongside peers in teams that thrive on diversity; a time for indulging one’s thirst for knowledge and preparing for a fulfilling career. The UK Honours degree is a robust qualification which garners worldwide respect; however, we are betraying […]

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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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  • An economic necessity: putting postgraduates at the heart of the system

    An economic necessity: putting postgraduates at the heart of the system

    By Graham Spittle – Imagine what the standing of industry and education will be in a country like India by the second half of this century. How well-skilled will the population be? Will the plan to build hundreds of new universities have paid dividends? How attractive will Western conglomerates find the relatively low cost of labour? How many of the tech jobs once found in Cambridge, Frankfurt or San Jose will now be found in the business parks of Bangalore or Gurgaon? Will Britain’s role […]

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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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  • Putting students at the heart of higher education

    Putting students at the heart of higher education

    By David Willetts – The UK Coalition Government immediately accepted the main thrust of Lord Browne’s independent review of higher education, when it was published last year, because it put students at the heart of a more dynamic system. In all the controversy surrounding the parliamentary votes, the student demonstrations and the raw politics, this has been forgotten too often. The review team had a clear overarching objective: “we are relying on student choice to drive up quality. Students will […]

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