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Welfare reform on the Web (July 2007): Education - UK - higher

British universities past and present

R. Anderson

London: Hambledon Continuum, 2006

The book is a concise history of British universities and their place in society over eight centuries. It also offers an analysis of current university problems and policies as seen in the light of that history. It explains how the modern university system has developed since the Victorian era, and gives special attention to changes in policy since the Second World War, including the effects of the Robbins report, the rise and fall of the binary system, the impact of the Thatcher era, and the financial crises which have beset universities in recent years. A final chapter on the past and the present shows the continuing relevance of the ideals inherited from the past, and makes an important contribution to current controversies by identifying a distinctively British university model and discussing the historical relationship of state and market.

Enduring disablism: students with dyslexia and their pathways into UK higher education and beyond

M. Madriaga

Disability and Society, vol. 22, 2007, p. 399-412

This article is based on a one-year project supported by Aimhigher South Yorkshire to explore disabled learner transitions into higher education. In spite of being discouraged at school, people with dyslexia pursued higher education because they saw it as an economic necessity or a place to prove their self-worth. Once in higher education, they faced ongoing difficulties in getting information and insensitivity and lack of understanding from academic staff. They were also concerned that their disability would adversely affect their career development. The author uses the experiences of study participants to highlight the persistence of disabling practices and attitudes in society.

Post-modernism, deprofessionalisation and commodification: the outcomes of performance measurement in higher education

A. Adcroft and R. Willis

Journal of Finance and Management in Public Services, vol. 6, 2007, p. 43-56

The central argument of this paper is that current regimes of performance measurement in UK higher education are unlikely to deliver any real improvements in performance. Rather, the most likely outcomes will be the further deprofessionalisation of academic staff and commodification of the work they carry out. This is because:

  • the measurement regimes reflect the triumph of a flawed post-modern philosophy which emphasises system deconstruction and economic functionality
  • they represent the further inroads of New Public Management and the transformation of the public sector through the importation of private sector philosophies
  • they are fundamentally flawed in terms of management process.
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