Home » Articles » Widening debate (Page 2)

  • The idea of a tertiary education system

    By Liam Burns – In his recent book, What Are Universities For? Professor Stefan Collini writes, with obvious sarcasm, ‘it’s hardly surprising that no deathless prose has yet been written about the idea of a tertiary education system’. But perhaps that’s something we should change. We could find great radicalism in a new vision for tertiary education. What might we mean by this? Tertiary education literally means ‘third education’ – that which comes after primary and secondary education. But in […]

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  • The philanthropic turn

    By Robert Lethbridge – The furious debate engendered by the introduction of the £9,000 tuition fee for students starting their university courses in England this October has had both immediate and far-reaching consequences. Whether or not prompted by the headlines predicting an overall decline in applications, overlaid by a genuine fear that prospective debt would discourage wider access, a number of older universities have been offered increased funding for bursaries and other purposes by many alumni who had themselves received […]

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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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  • Seven predictions for technology-enabled higher education

    By Sarah Porter – The world has seen some unimaginable changes in the last fifty years – and technology of various kinds has been at the heart of much of this change. Technology is a tremendous advantage in some contexts – connecting people, curing illnesses, boosting food production and solving problems. At the same time, technology can also have negative impacts – and also unforeseen consequences. I believe that higher education is currently at something of a turning point in […]

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  • Higher humanities education in the 21st Century

    By AC Grayling –  There will always be a significant need for higher education to produce the technical and vocational experts whos presence is essential in advanced economies. Scientists, engineers, doctors and lawyers are indispensable, so universities will always train such professionals because there will always be the resources for training them. The necessary funding either comes from individuals themselves who are confident of the return on investment involved (as in the US), or by taxpayers who are similarly (if indirectly) confident, as is still the […]

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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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  • Academics and standards: avoiding market failure

    By Andrew McGettigan – Can academic standards be ensured without a central role for academics? Not according to the current regulations governing Degree Awarding Powers.1 Proposals to amend these rules so as to allow for more diversity amongst providers put quality at risk. The government’s reforms of the higher education (HE) sector in England, if allowed to proceed in their current ‘direction of travel’, will exacerbate the disparities already seen between institutions. Resources will increasingly gravitate towards the small group of universities […]

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