Moser, Lord Claus
At this late moment in the evening, I will confine myself to a few basic points. But first, I want to look back 40 years. I was involved in a major government review of higher education in Britain. Its outcome was the historic Robbins Committee on Higher Education, linked to the name of the Chairman, Lord Robbins, a professor at the London School of Economics and one of the country’s leading economists.
Since then there have been enormous changes. At the time of Robbins, we had 30 universities; now there are 120 or so. Then, six percent of the age group went to university; now, it is 48 percent. Moreover, there are now far more part-time and mature students, and universities play an increasing role in life-long learning. Government funding has fallen drastically over 10 years – a drop of perhaps 40 percent in unit costs per student – so that universities are under enormous pressure to do their job and protect standards.