Public interest defence

March 6, 2014

The seriousness of the threatened takeover of the Institute of Education, University of London by University College London (“Love, honour, obey: will the IoE repent its UCL union at leisure”, Opinion, 20 February) is that at a time when public education in England faces a “Great Reversal” to a minority higher education and the possible privatisation of a range of institutions, the whole notion of education, pedagogy and learning is being lost. It is being substituted for by training, didacticism and cramming.

The institute provided a critical space in which the nature of learning and the future of education at all levels from primary to postgraduate schools could be debated. This forum is likely to be lost in a merger by the self-aggrandising management of UCL. A defence of the Institute of Education needs, therefore, to appeal to a constituency that is wider than its own scholars and students – one that includes all those who see this “merger” as another threat to the future of public education.

Patrick Ainley
University of Greenwich

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