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UCU says government's 'Higher Education Debate' needs proper debate

12 November 2008 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU said today that the government's future of higher education debate needed input from people on the front line if it was to have any genuine credibility.

The union said that the Higher Education Debate, first announced by secretary of state for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), John Denham, in February, and published today, was an example of the government's worrying trend to cherry pick information, rather than invite a genuine critique of policy.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Everybody involved in higher education wants what they believe is best for the sector. There will always be different points of view and it is imperative that the government takes them all on board. We find it astonishing that the secretary of state failed to ensure that those genuinely representing the people tasked with delivering government policy on the ground - the staff - were afforded the opportunity to contribute to, or review, the submissions.
'Honest debate is part and parcel of university life and it must to be allowed to flourish throughout higher education. If the government wants its Higher Education Debate to have any credibility it must take on board the views of practitioners. Failure to do so will only lead to accusations that it is seeking evidence to back up current policy, rather than a genuine critique.'