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Lanchester on higher education

Happy New Year! Back from holidays and back to posting. I would have posted sooner but had a stack of emails to do yesterday. (Many still left to go…).

I have been reading John Lanchester’s, Whoops, an account of the financial meltdown of the last few years. It’s a good account and an easy read. If you have been following the story in detail it won’t tell you anything really new but is worth reading nonetheless. I particularly liked something he wrote as an aside in parenthesis:

The whole question of what Britain is best at, in global terms, is an interesting one. There are four sectors in which Britain is world-class: finance, arms manufacturing, the creative arts and higher education. Of these, the first receives strong government support, the second lavish investment and strong support, the third is largely left to mind its own business and the fourth has been gradually run down, with three decades of consistent discouragement and underfunding. What would Britain look like today if instead of the arms industry or the City it had been our Russell Group universities which had been the subject of attempts to achieve world supremacy?

We can only imagine and weep at the opportunities lost.

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