It's a set-up

November 5, 2009

It is just under a year since you reported that more than 80 per cent of students rate the teaching they receive as good or excellent - satisfaction figures that would be the envy of most businesses and all politicians ("Encouraging survey reveals most students are satisfied with teaching", 20 November 2008).

More recently, the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings 2009 showed Britain to have 18 of the top 100 and 29 of the top 200 universities, a remarkable achievement for a small country. It is difficult to think of any other area where the UK performs so strongly.

One might expect this to be trumpeted as a national success story. Instead, just about every pronouncement from politicians about the sector is unremittingly negative, the most recent example being the remarks made at the CBI's higher education summit ("State your demands, Government and Tories tell students", 29 October). Are universities being set up to join the long list of institutions that functioned perfectly well until endless "reforms" smashed them to pieces?

Christopher Grey, Head of the Industrial Relations and Organisational Behaviour Group, Warwick Business School.

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