Howells issues white warning

December 26, 1997

THE long-awaited white paper on lifelong learning expected at the end of January will not be able to deal with all the recommendations made by Sir Ron Dearing, Kim Howells said last week.

Instead statements concerning certain recommendations will be made in the weeks following the publication of the paper.

The lifelong learning minister, speaking at the Society for Research into Higher Education annual conference at Warwick University, did not give any more detail about what the statements would contain, but said that the Dearing recommendations were too numerous to be dealt with in the white paper alone.

Dr Howells said the paper had been delayed because the government "wanted to get it right" rather than get it out early. He stressed that it would not be "carved in stone" and that responses would be welcomed.

In the opening session of the conference, Adair Turner, chief executive of the Confederation of British Industry, said greater clarity was needed to help guide employers through the "minefield of qualifications" used to display the skills and expertise that universities provided to industry.

Clarity in qualifications must be mirrored by quality, which Mr Turner said was good for universities, students and prospective employers.

"If we can implement the Dearing recommendations for a qualification framework, the UK can build on the high-quality provision of postgraduates," he said.

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