Agreeing on the unequivocal

September 17, 2015

The Higher Education Policy Institute’s reports are meant to encourage debate, so it is good to see Howard Hotson’s response to our latest publication, Keeping up with the Germans, which I wrote (“Small is beautiful: the UK has lessons to learn from Germany”, Opinion, 10 September). But his should not be the final word.

Whether the non-Scottish parts of the UK choose to copy Germany’s abolition of tuition fees is, ultimately, a political decision. Yet the best political decisions respond to all the available evidence, not just one side on its own. So it is disingenuous to claim that Germany has lit a path for others to follow while simultaneously ignoring the insistent voices of those in that country who question whether their funding system is sustainable. The German debate is less one-sided, more complicated and much more interesting than is sometimes implied.

Aside from funding, there is probably not a cigarette paper between Hotson and Hepi’s report. For example, the pamphlet argues that there is much to learn from the German approach to internationalisation. They are rolling out a red carpet for international students while we are rolling one up. It also notes the success of the Germans’ comparatively generous approach to research funding. As the spending review looms, perhaps we should coalesce around those areas where the lessons from Germany are unequivocal?

Nick Hillman
Director
Higher Education Policy Institute


Send to

Letters should be sent to: THE.Letters@tesglobal.com

Letters for publication in Times Higher Education should arrive by 9am Monday. View terms and conditions.

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
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

Reflection of man in cracked mirror

To defend the values of reason from political attack we need to be more discriminating about the claims made in its name, says John Hendry