Since the last war there have been enormous increases in the numbers of universities and of students. Yet it tends to be assumed that the concepts which were valid for the dozen or so universities and the tens of thousands of students of the 1900's are still valid for the fifty universities and the hundreds of thousands of students of today.
Sir Sydney Caine was Director of the London School of Economics from 1957-67. Before that he had been for four years Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya and had served for twenty-five years in the Civil Service – in the Colonial Office, in the Colonial Service as Financial Secretary of Hong Kong, and in the Treasury. He is thus equipped to give a balanced assessment of the state of British universities today when their almost complete financial dependence on the state makes the relationship between the universities and the Government one of the central topics in any such discussion.
The book examines a number of inter-related questions which are seldom asked. What are the objectives of a university? Is there a proper balance between teaching and research? Is it right that secondary school curricula should be to so great an extent determined by university entrance requirements? With the increase in their numbers are graduates any longer in any sense an élite? What are the underlying causes of the current malaise among students? What is the value of university education to the society which provides it, and should there be a special tax on graduates' earnings? What is the role of universities in relation to other forms of further education? How and to what extent should teachers – and students – participate in university government? Can alternative methods of financing universities be found which will give students a greater sense of responsibility and lead to the loosening of wasteful rigidities of organisation – in degree patterns, length of courses etc?
Much of the confusion of purpose evident in higher educational policy today has risen because these and related questions have not been asked. Sir Sydney Caine examines them fairly and thoroughly, weighting the need to respect academic independence against the public interest. The result is a most stimulating discussion on a topic of vital concern for the future of Britain.
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|Publisher:||University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division|
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About the Author
Sir Sydney Caine, KCMG (1902 – 1991) was an educator and economist. He was the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong from 1937 to 1940. He was appointed the Director of the London School of Economics (LSE) between 1957 and 1967. He was an alumnus of the LSE and before his appointment as Director of the school he was a well known economist who had acted as a Consultant for the World Bank for a period of time and had worked as a diplomat, appointed Minister at the British Embassy in Washington, USA. Between 1952 and 1957, he was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya. Between 1963 and 1970 he was the Chairman of the Governing Board of the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning.