Click here for THE homepageRejecting dire warnings that increasing competition in higher education will end in disaster, Paul Ramsden argues that the opposite could be true, but only if the sector is allowed to take charge of its own destiny.
A series of doom-laden stories, rich in self-serving hyperbole, have haunted the discourse of higher education since the Browne report. The latest terror to grip the sector is that this year's downturn in undergraduate numbers is the result of students being deterred in their droves by higher fees. That this panic is without foundation means nothing to the media and an assortment of senior academics. Let's be generous and say that they must have forgotten the lessons of basic statistics. They happily mistake correlation for causation and predict a trend towards the end of the university as we know it - from a single year's full data and very preliminary figures for 2014 admissions. Read more...