By John Holmwood
The Browne document advocates, in influence, the privatisation of upper schooling in England. With the proposed removing of the present cap on pupil charges and the elimination of country investment from such a lot undergraduate measure programmes, universities are set for a interval of significant reorganisation now not obvious because the greater schooling reforms within the Nineteen Sixties.
This e-book brings jointly many of the major figures in larger schooling within the united kingdom to set out what they see because the position of the college in public lifestyles. The booklet argues for a extra balanced figuring out of the worth of universities than that defined within the Browne document. It advocates that they need to now not merely be obvious by way of their contribution to fiscal progress and the human capital of people but additionally when it comes to their contribution to the general public.
This ebook responds to the most important debates that the Browne evaluation and govt statements have sparked, with essays at the cultural importance of the college, the position of the govt in investment learn, inequality in better schooling, the position of quangos in public lifestyles and where of social technology study. it's a well timed, very important and regarded exploration of the function of the schools within the united kingdom and a reminder of what we should always worth and safeguard in our larger schooling system.
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Extra info for A manifesto for the public university
Interdisciplinarity presupposes disciplinary research with its distinctive array of interconnected assumptions, methodologies, theoretical frameworks and guiding questions. New disciplines may emerge, but there is no eliminating of disciplines for all their potential narrowing of perspectives. That is how knowledge progresses – through disciplinary frameworks, ever more necessary to organize and make sense of the exponential growth in information. Still, these frameworks must be subject to continual criticism and that is the role of critical debate and the interrogation of fundamentals, not least the distortion of knowledge by an extraneous regulatory system, by the accentuation of formal rationality.
The expansion of higher education begun in the 1980s was, regrettably, done on the cheap, which accounts for many of the problems universities currently face. However, a good deal of ground was made up during the 2000s and Britain now has a successful higher education sector, somewhat unwieldy and certainly not without its problems, but nonetheless attracting far more applications both from home and international students than it can accept. There is a tremendous appetite outside ‘the academy’ for deep and meaningful knowledge about the world – be that knowledge biological, astronomical, historical, literary or artistic.
Responsibility to students What then might such a vision consist of? Some of its elements are exceptionally old. It would be facile to say that students arrive at university as children and leave as adults, but there is an important truth about the rite of passage that university provides for those young people who choose to attend. This is understood today, but often in absurdly narrow ways. It is not – contrary to the Confederation of British Industry’s regular pronouncements – universities’ function to produce men and women shrink-wrapped on exit for corporate workstations.