20 years ago

April 10, 2008

"British higher education today has retreated into uncertainty and anxiety. Why? The most obvious answer is the cuts ... But a second reason may be that higher education has lost the language to redefine fundamental purposes and great ideals. It could speak it at the time of Robbins and the foundation of the new universities or even perhaps when the polytechnic alternative was established. But today this language has been succeeded by the primitive clutter of policy-speak. Admittedly our whole public culture is a silent one, constructed out of implicit values and unspoken assumptions. Universities in particular are at the heart of that silence. But never has higher education been in greater need of an effective language to explain itself, to others and to itself; yet never has it seemed more inarticulate." (Leader)

Strathclyde University has been praised by the Equal Opportunities Commission for its decision to exercise positive discrimination in favour of women in certain courses. Mr Ronald Crawford, Strathclyde's academic registrar, stressed that the university had no intention of breaking the law, and was considering positive discrimination only in areas where women had been underrepresented, such as engineering and certain branches of applied science.

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