Private provision is a bankrupt approach 2

April 30, 2009

In 1981, for the first time in its history, the University Grants Committee decided that financial cuts should not create "equal misery", but be differentially directed. The major cuts - much greater than any of the proposed ones that are supposedly putting the future of certain universities at risk today - fell on the former Colleges of Advanced Technology (CATs), which lost up to 40 per cent of their income. Yet each found a collegial solution to its problems, so that 28 years later they all prosper. There is a lesson here for today's financial "failures", none of which is in as dire a situation as the ex-CATs were in 1981, but whose problems are being tackled via top-down managerialism.

Lewis Elton Honorary professor of higher education, University College London.

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