Browne's hidden hand a slap in sector's face (part 5)

November 4, 2010

I wonder where Baroness Warnock has been all these years ("The review's reverberations", 28 October)? She sounds like Margaret Thatcher who, as education minister in the 1970s, was told that some of her policies would upset the universities.

"What, both of them?" she replied.

The former polytechnics are now almost 20 years old and are here to stay. We may see some mergers among the post-1992 institutions, although this was foretold during the last recession and never really happened. We will probably see new universities and new alignments with further education colleges.

Bahram Bekhradnia, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, probably predicts the future correctly when he suggests that the sector will look much the same as it does today, in the same way as it now looks much as it did in 1990.

I am also not sure why Warnock thinks that 50 per cent of school-leavers going to university is "utterly ridiculous". The UK needs a highly educated workforce. It cannot rely on the lower-skilled jobs that can now be carried out much more cost-effectively in developing countries.

Allan Ashworth, Visiting professor, School of the Built Environment, University of Salford.

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