Sir Ron Dearing has enlisted a moral philosopher to help his committee of inquiry into higher education provide ethical guidelines for universities, he revealed this week.
Briefing the Council for Education in the Commonwealth at the House of Lords, Sir Ron said that universities had a duty to "nourish and sustain civilisation". He said: "We don't realise how fragile civilisation is. In this fast-moving world we need the contribution from universities, but I struggle to think how to express that."
Sir Ron revealed only that he had asked "a moral philosopher from a certain country with a long tradition" to join his team.
He said that his committee has "not even begun to discuss how to pay for higher education". "First we wanted to size up what kind of higher education we want. The joy of the committee is that we can leap over ditches like the fact there is no money, and think long term."