V-cs leap to defence of 'united' CVCP

May 22, 1998

As a vice-chairman of the CVCP I do not believe your coverage is representative of the view of the majority of members.

You cite a small number of unnamed vice-chancellors expressing personal views. There are 113 members of the CVCP, and there will always be healthy debate concerning its approach to a range of issues and different views will be expressed that reflect the diversity of membership. In my experience the representative view tends towards the middle ground, which is that the CVCP is doing a good job in difficult circumstances.

The committee has had considerable success in making the sector's concerns clear to agencies such as the QAA - and indeed the ongoing discussions between the CVCP and the QAA are progressing positively. The CVCP is also presenting a strong case to government for higher education's claims in the comprehensive spending review, leaving it in no doubt of the importance of higher education to the success of its plans for education and for improving the skills base of the nation.

Higher education is already a significant player in the United Kingdom economy, employing 1.2 per cent of the workforce and making a substantial contribution to the balance of trade. Individual subgroups of universities cannot claim this degree of macroeconomic significance and no group can speak with as influential a voice as the CVCP. Higher education has everything still to play for in terms of the CSR and the CVCP is keeping the pressure up.

John Arbuthnott

Principal and vice-chancellor, University of Strathclyde

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