Patrick Ainley (“Public interest defence”, Letters, 6 March) chooses to conflate the proposed merger between University College London and the Institute of Education, University of London with the privatisation of higher education and the loss of the notion of education, pedagogy and learning.
This is quite a leap. First, UCL is a public university with the same legal form as the IoE – it is not a private organisation. Second, I can assure Ainley that, whatever its form, the IoE will continue to explore the nature of learning and the future of education at all levels from primary to postgraduate. Indeed, the proposed merger raises exciting possibilities for broadening that work through stronger interdisciplinary collaboration and even wider reach.
Far from being a threat to the future of public education, the relationship will strengthen, extend and evolve the critical space in question.
Director, Institute of Education
Patrick Ainley correctly sees a takeover of the IoE by UCL as part of the privatisation of education and says a defence of the institute requires an appeal to a constituency beyond its own scholars and students, but what is that constituency? Students have shown the way by taking to the streets, but scholars have kept their heads down. As a student of the IoE in the 1970s, I was taught by the likes of Basil Bernstein that education cannot compensate for society. We need to look outside education at the wider social, economic and political climate to understand change in education.