Bernard T Harrison

The Thinking Class

Education and the University

By

C.U.P 171pp £8.50 order from our bookshop

In a recent contribution to the New Universities Quarterly (Autumn ‘79) entitled ‘Are the British Universities capable of Change?’, Dr A. H. Halsey presents a gloomy picture of British universities, edgily conscious of their pecking order on the ‘minor redbrick to Oxbridge’ table; defensively status-conscious about polytechnic claims to ‘parity’ and about possible developments towards a comprehensive system of higher education: and stubbornly reluctant to face the prospect of academic innovation with any enthusiasm, in the context of government cut-backs and possible decisions to reverse the expansion of universities in the 60’s. Some of Halsey’s hidden premises may well be highly questionable. (Is there not, for instance, a good case to be made for clearer identification of the role of the university, and can a case not be made against the notion of a ‘comprehensive’ university, at least in some forms?). But his charges of mediocrity and academic constipation ought to be considered seriously, at a time when all involved in education are waiting with trepidation for the November White Paper on proposals for cuts in education, and when intelligent action from within universities will be essential, unless we are all to line up meekly to whatever chopping blocks are set up by our political masters and mistresses.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,