Charles Clarke (Secretary of State for Education) presented to the Select Committee on Education last week (1.12.04), stating that the Government was intervening to defend certain University departments against closure on so-called “viability” grounds. He was going to define certain subjects as “Strategic”. This was arguably in response to the University of Exeter’s decision to close its Chemistry department.
Dfee’s political leadership need to get it through their heads that, reducing the research support grants, forcing departments to fund themselves through tuition fees, and increasing the size of the target student population will lead to thick twats studying rubbish courses such as Media Studies, Museum studies and Sports & Management. The newly recruited will not want to study difficult stuff like Maths & Science, and long term government policy is now giving the students the power to decide what is taught.
Universities have always been (and should remain) about thought leadership and research, not become the intellectual capital goods factory for UK PLC. Clark has come up against a market that needs a monopsony structure to meet the public good. Its one of the problems that “Tax & Spend” is designed to solve.
BTW what is strategy? dictionary.com suggests it means important! Why don’t people use the more common words such as “Important” or “vital”?