Posted tagged ‘Richard Lambert’

Closing the ‘worst’ universities?

June 10, 2010

I guess that if we think we have problems in Ireland, it may be interesting to look at what is happening across the Irish Sea. According to yesterday’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, the Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, Richard Lambert, has suggested that in considering the position of the university sector the British government should perhaps take ‘the politically explosive but probably economically sensible decision to close or merge the worst run institutions.’

This suggestion appears to be motivated by his desire to protect the standing of what he calls British ‘premier league’ institutions, who should not be forced to ‘pay the price for the incompetence of the worst’.

We do not know which Mr Lambert thinks are Britain’s ‘worst run’ universities, nor do we know how many he has in his sights. But it appears that what many would have regarded as unthinkable – the prospect of university closures – is now being mentioned openly in the UK. In Ireland the HEA has indicated that it regards such closures as inconceivable, but nevertheless the previous institutional stability of higher education has been rattled here as well with all the merger and rationalisation talk. In the end, it is hard to see how destabilising the sector helps anyone. The sooner the current period of uncertainty, with important position papers outstanding, comes to an end, the better.