Thursday, June 18, 2009

BIS, Mandelson and the future?

It's been a while since I've had the time to right anything of note on this blog - and so much has happened in the intervening period - on a work related note we've been busy with assessment and award boards and some really exciting new developments for our Faculty. In the wider world, the political establishment has been tearing itself apart after the revelations in the Daily Telegraph about expenses, and the results of local and European elections.

So after the inevitable cabinet reshuffle, we no longer have a government department with the word "universities" in its title, and higher and further education now comes under the remit of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, led by the irrepressible Peter Mandelson.

SO what is it all going to mean for us...........some have complained that universities need to have more visible representation (going back to titles of departments?) and others are not happy about linking universities and business. Linking them to innovation and skills doesn't seem to be such a bad idea though!

This week's Times Higher has a report and an interview with Mandy. The article discusses the possibility of universities being given financial incentives to address skills shortages in the economy. Les Ebdon, chairman of the Million+ group of universities, warned that while the idea of predicting future skills needs was "superficially" attractive, the Government had an "awful" record in the area. The interview is interesting - Peter Mandelson told Times Higher Education that far from being horrified by the restructuring in Whitehall, universities were "delighted" by the change.

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