Market, not students, at heart of the system (3 of 3)

July 7, 2011

The sorry tale criticised in "A big paper but no grand plan" (Leader, 30 June) is not only the story of higher education in the UK but also of industry. The UK's corporate culture looks at short-term profitability at the expense of environmental and social responsibility.

Long-term higher education has already been damaged by short-term needs: look at what happened to GCE O levels and the A- and AS-level fiasco.We are not in a race to the bottom: we are already at the bottom. Consider maths teaching, where British schools are slipping down the international league tables while their counterparts in Singapore, China, Japan and South Korea surge ahead. Chinese students are said to be two years ahead of their British peers.

There has to be joined-up thinking and long-term vision if we are to put the Great back into Britain.

Bala Balachandran, Director, accounting and finance, Cass Business School, City University London

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