13 Dec 2021
Professor Dave Phoenix, Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University and former MillionPlus Chair, has written for the National Centre for Universities and Business on the vital technical education delivered in particular by modern universities in Britain.
"Over the last 150 years, successive Education Secretaries have launched initiatives with the promise of delivering a system of technical education to rival Germany’s. It is what led to the foundation of my institution, London South Bank University (LSBU), in 1892 (then the Borough Polytechnic Institute) and other polytechnics in the 50s. It is what led to the creation of Colleges of Advanced Technology in the 60s.
"Although some of these institutions have been driven to widen the scope of their provision, many have maintained the technical focus for which they were founded – educating technicians and professionals and collaborating with businesses to drive innovation in new products and services. Far from dying out, 39% of students studying at UK universities in 2019 were, in fact, enrolled onto a technical course. Rather than being ‘lesser versions’ of the UK’s research-intensive institutions, as they are so often portrayed, ‘Universities of Technology’ are distinct and powerful institutions in their own right, providing crucial support to UK plc. Nissan depends on the automotive engineers trained by Sunderland University, just as the construction industry depends on the fact 2/3rds of all building service engineers are trained at LSBU."
"Perhaps the time has come for us to stop trying to force new initiatives or create new institutions but instead to recognise the value of our existing Universities of Technology and encourage their growth as part of a differentiated education sector."
Read the article in ull here.