In light of the government’s recent announcement that it is scrapping the 50% university target, WA was delighted to speak to the Rt Hon Lord David Willetts on the future outlook for the higher education sector as part of our ‘In Conversation’ series on Tuesday 28th July 2020.
Lord Willetts is a former Minister of State for Universities and Science, and in 2017 he published ‘A University Education’, which offers a powerful account of the value of higher education and the case for more expansion.
The future for the higher education sector in the UK looks stark. The sector faces huge challenges over funding and the long-term financial sustainability of higher education institutions, but they also face political pressures on a range of other issues too, from grade inflation to Vice Chancellor pay. Compounding this are the challenges the sector now faces from Covid-19.
Given this, the discussion explored:
• Funding challenges, including the Augar Review, Brexit and pressures from Covid-19
• Grade inflation and the quality of degree courses
• Free speech on campuses
• Vice Chancellor pay
• How higher education institutions must adapt their teaching after Covid-19
• Conversely, the role that research and science can play in Covid-19 recovery