Higher Education in UK

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Gert Potgieter, Feb 9, 2002.

  1. Another interesting article by Peter Scott (VC of Kingston U.). This time on the topic of whether Higher Education in the UK will turn towards the American model or the European model:

    An educated choice.
  2. mamorse

    mamorse New Member

    This is a very interesting article, Gert. While I have tremendous respect for the British University System, as a scientist, I can appreciate the considerable disadvantage that many of my British friends and colleagues in the biomedical sciences find themselves with regard to research funding. (There are reasons why the U.S. continues to "steal" some of Britain's best and brightest.) The irony is that the U.S., viewed by many Europeans as a bastion of capitalism, is far more generous (proportionately speaking) in the funding of science, through the NIH and NSF. And yet, I wish the U.S. "system" could produce the incredible consistency in academic excellence and rigor (from top to bottom) that the British system has achieved. Of course, that is impossible since the U.S. "system" is but a large collection of dissimilar parochial systems. Obviously, no system is perfect, as the article points out. However, I'm reasonably satisfied with our system, warts and all. (Just don't get me started on the Ohio University System! :D) In any case, I'm not sure that the British system requires more than a bit of "tweaking" to continue its sustained history of excellence.
  3. mamorse

    mamorse New Member

    Re: Re: Higher Education in UK

    Sorry, Gert. I meant to add that if Cambridge *EVER* offers a distance M.Sc. in Bioinformatics, I'll apply in a heartbeat!
  4. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    I found Peter Scott's article to be shallow and incoherent.

    Without writing a detailed review, I would suggest that he is creating a false dichotomy: America and "Europe" (whatever that means) as opposed "essences", politicizing the alternatives (America = political right, Europe = political left), and suggesting that British higher education faces an 'either-or' choice between them. Not surprisingly, he opts for the left.

    If read carefully and not simply skimmed for effect, the article is a hodgepodge of confusion.

    An example: Near the top of the article he is praising American higher education for its democratic inclusiveness:

    But towards the end of the article he argues:

    So he praises American higher education for being more inclusive than Britain's but rejects it for falling short on social policy goals "ie social inclusion"? I'm confused.

    Besides self-contradiction, I think he's guilty of stereotyping. He says that he studied at UC Berkeley, so he obviously knows that American research universities conduct "pro-bono" scientific and scholarly research. Actually that should read: "government grant funded pure research", since no university ever does anything pro-bono.

    He knows better.
  5. This article appears in the Guardian and is intended to be light (and very mildy controversial) reading.

    Scott does know his stuff. Before taking over as Vice Chancellor at Kingston, he was Professor of Education and a Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Leeds. He was for years the Editor of the Higher Education Supplement of the Times of London. He's also the author or editor of numerous books on Higher Education (many of which can be obtained through Amazon). In particular, to address confusion about Scott's views on "social inclusion," I would recommend The Meanings of Mass Higher Education.
  6. John Bear

    John Bear Senior Member

    Gert: He was Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Leeds.

    Do they also have an Anti-Vice Chancellor? (Holding, perhaps, the Mary Whitehouse chair...)
  7. LOL! What kind of a slip is that? You have a good eye, John. I suppose it should be Pro Vice-Chancellor (or maybe simply Pro Vice Chancellor).

Share This Page