Letter: Modernity knocks

May 25, 2001

What an old-fashioned view of the role of higher education "League Tables 2001" ( THES , May 18) assume. In February last year, about 60 metres from where I sit, education secretary David Blunkett identified three imperatives - social inclusion, wealth creation and globalisation - for higher education this century.

The table on entry standards can be seen as an index of social exclusion. It dismis-ses, and therefore diminishes, the qualifications held by a significant and growing subset of applicants and deals only with full-time first degrees.

This is compounded by the table on degree classes, which allows nothing for value added and the transforming effect of higher education.

The destinations table combines two elements: those who can get a job immediately and contribute to wealth creation and those who need further training subsidised by those who get jobs. The two are contrasts, not complements.

The tables ignore the global role of higher education. Where are the international students and levels of partnership with other countries?

If the tables gave fair weighting to such factors, they would show the modern universities are exactly that: modern and fit for the communities they serve.

Ian McNay
Professor of higher education and management
University of Greenwich

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns