Background to the debate on the future of higher education

Secretary of State John Denham wishes to develop a policy framework for the development of higher education. More information can be found below

In February 2008 speaking at the Wellcome Collection, John Denham, Secretary of State for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, announced his intention to develop a policy framework for higher education for the next ten to fifteen years, to inform the development of his Department's policies.

This policy framework will determine what a world-class higher education system of the future should look like, what it should seek to achieve, and will establish the current barriers to its development.

To inform the development of the policy framework the Secretary of State commissioned a set of independent contributions focusing on a number of broad higher education issues by several individuals and organisations from the higher education sector. These would be published in October 2008.

September 2008

Speaking at the UUK's annual conference in Cambridge, the Secretary of State outlined the next steps in the development of a policy framework for higher education for the next ten to fifteen years.

He made two new announcements:

Users' perspectives

The Secretary of State announced that he has invited a number of users with an interest in the success of Britain's universities and colleges to articulate their perspectives on what a world class higher education sector will look like in ten to fifteen years time. The users will react the the recommendations made by the contributors and will set out what their sector needs from higher education. Their reports will be published in December.

We are also hearing the student view, and are working with members of the National Student Forum

Online higher education

Sir Ron Cooke (the former Chair of the Joint Information Systems Committee) has been invited to provide advice and recommendations on how Britain can be one of the leading centres of online higher education in the world.

Sir Ron's report was published along with the other eight contributions in October.

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