Two Ministries better than one?

Mike Baker on the BBC website comments on the possibilities for a “messy divorce” following the break up of the DfES. All seems harmonious so far though, apart from a bit of confusion in the post-16 area.

The role of the new Department which features “Universities” in its title, DIUS, is particularly of interest though:

DIUS logo

The Department will work to:

    – Sustain and develop a world-class research base
    – Maximise the exploitation of the research base to support innovation across all sectors of the economy
    – Raise and widen participation in Higher Education
    – Raise participation and attainment by young people and adults in post-16 education and learning
    – Tackle the skills gap amongst adults, particularly equipping people with basic literacy and numeracy
    – Increase the supply of people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

Mike Shattock, writing in The Higher (13 July 2007, no URL for non-subscribers so you’ll have to buy it) makes a number of interesting observations. He notes with concern the prospects for greater interference in HE whereas others seem to be applauding a Ministry with the word “universities” in the title. His line, with which I have to say I have a great deal of sympathy, is that government should let universities get on with it rather than intervening actively in each of the areas of responsibilty outlined for DIUS (above). So, which way will the new Department go?

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