Mandelson Outlines the Future of Higher Education
Submit Articles Back to Articles
Issued 03 November 2009
The Government has today unveiled a new framework for the future success
of higher education, setting out the important role universities will play
in securing the country’s economic recovery and long term prosperity.
Lord Mandelson’s vision to sustain university success in more challenging
and competitive times sets out the Government’s approach on the major issues
facing universities, including the need to make greater contributions to the
economy, widening access and strengthening our research capacity.
The higher education framework, Higher Ambitions , sets out a strategy
for universities to remain world class, providing the nation with the high
level skills needed to remain competitive, while continuing to attract the
brightest students and researchers.
Key measures set out in the framework include
More competition between universities, giving greater priority to
programmes that meet the need for high level skills;Business to be more
engaged in the funding and design of programmes, sponsorship of students,
and work placements; Creating more part-time, work-based and foundation
degrees to make it easier for adults to go to university’s, with routes from
apprenticeships through to Foundation Degrees and other vocational
programmes;Encouraging universities to consider contextual data in
admissions, as one way of ensuring that higher education is available to all
young people who have the ability to benefit;Universities setting out
clearly what students can expect in terms of the nature and quality of
courses offered; Sustaining our world class research base by continuing to
focus on excellence, concentrating research funding where needed to secure
critical mass and impact; and Encouraging collaboration between universities
on world class research, especially in high cost science.
In the House of Lords today Lord Mandelson said:
“Able people and bright ideas are the foundation stones of a thriving
knowledge economy and in the next ten years we will want more, not fewer
people in higher education, and more not less quality research.
“We have made great progress in the number of young people going to
university at 18 or 19 to do a three year degree. But the challenge for the
next decade is to offer a wider range of new study opportunities –
part-time, work-based, foundation degrees and studying whilst at home – to a
greater range of people.
“All students must continue to enter higher education on their merit. But
I believe this means taking account of a student’s academic attainment,
their aptitude and their potential. Many universities are already developing
their use of contextual data in admissions and we hope that all universities
will look at their examples and consider incorporating such data in their
“The Government also want universities to make an even bigger
contribution to Britain’s economic recovery and future growth.
“We have therefore decided to give greater priority to programmes that
meet the need for high level skills, especially in key areas such as
science, technology, engineering and maths. There will be a greater element
of competition between universities for new contestable funding as an
incentive to fulfil this priority. With employers and universities, we will
identify where the supply of graduates is not meeting demand for key skills.
And we will seek to re-balance this, by asking HEFCE to priorities the
courses and subjects which match these skills needs.
“We will look to business to be more active partners with our
universities. We want employers to be fully engaged in the funding and
design of university programmes, the sponsorship of students, and offering
“In the decade ahead we will expect more from our universities than ever
before. They will need to use their resources more effectively, reach out to
a wider range of potential students and devise new sources of income, at the
same time as they maintain teaching and research excellence.”
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills also announced that
Sir Martin Harris, the Director for Fair Access, will consult with Vice
Chancellors and provide the Government with a report on what further action
could be taken to widen access to highly selective universities for those
from under privileged backgrounds.
Lord Mandelson added:
“Wider and fairer access to university is a question of basic social
justice and it is right that able students with the talent and ability to
attend highly selective university are given a fair chance to do so,
regardless of where they live or the school they attend.”
1. Higher Ambitions can be found online at
2. The Higher Education Debate began in February 2008 when former
Universities Secretary, John Denham, commissioned ten academics to report on
key issues facing the sector in the next 10 to 15 years. A further six
reports were commissioned from employers and key users of higher education,
to give a rounded view of what was needed for the country’s higher education
provision to remain world class in the future. Further detail and copies of
the reports can be found online at
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business
success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone
the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster
world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing
in our future.
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the Department for Business,
Innovation & Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use
Follow us @Scopulus_News
Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-11-06 13:41:01 in Economic Articles