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The View at the Start of the Decade

Owen, R (2009) 'The View at the Start of the Decade.' The Law Teacher, 44 (1). pp. 75-86. ISSN 0306-9400

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Abstract

The end of the noughties witnessed an outpouring of reports directly relevant to the future of higher education which have provoked a lot of interest. The decadal conclusion has coincided with the end of an electoral cycle and this has resulted in the major political parties giving much higher prominence to the question of the future of higher education than is usual. This section will look at the following reports and some of the reaction to them: the House of Commons Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills (hereafter the IUSS) Select Committee Eleventh Report of 2008?09 Students and Universities and the government's response thereto; the CBI Higher Education Taskforce report Stronger Together Businesses and Universities in Turbulent Times (the CBI Report); Unleashing Aspiration: The Final Report of the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions (the Milburn Report) and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills report Higher Ambitions: The Future of Universities in a Knowledge Economy. It will examine the way in which these reports promise to shape the agenda for higher education for the next decade and group the issues around four themes of: Funding; Access; Learning and Teaching; and Standards. As a general reaction to these reports, none of the major stakeholders seems to see anything seriously wrong with the state of the higher education sector in the UK. The priority of politicians seems to be to evolve the system particularly in the light of new funding methods. Repeated National Student Surveys show broad student satisfaction with the sector although with reservations particularly in relation to assessment and feedback. The CBI Report celebrates the strengths of the HE sector although it identifies some weaknesses, particularly in relation to students' employability skills and its main priority is to sustain these strengths in an area of threatened spending cuts. The IUSS Report, in its review of the situation in England, goes furthest in its criticisms of universities but has not commanded the unqualified endorsement of front bench politicians with one describing it as ?too clumsy and too negative? and losing sight of ?the sheer excellence? that goes on in many universities. 1 It has also been criticised for its insularity, looking only at the US model and ignoring other models in the European Union, Asia and Australasia and a lack of an evidence base to support its conclusions. 2 The government, in its response, often states that it has not taken current developments adequately into account. However, it is very wide ranging and an interesting source of ideas on the student experience.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Faculty of Humanities
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2015 15:03
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:21
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/13367

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