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ERIC Number: ED536258
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 60
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-8403-6191-9
Devolution and Higher Education: Impact and Future Trends. Research Report
Trench, Alan
Universities UK
Devolution to Scotland, Wales and (intermittently) Northern Ireland was one of the major constitutional reforms initiated by the new Labour Government when it took office in 1997. This was largely a political project, and one of devolution's key successes was largely to halt, at least for a while, political debates about the position of Scotland (and to a lesser degree Wales) in the Union, which had bedevilled Conservative governments in the 1980s and 1990s. At an administrative level, devolution bedded in with remarkable ease and remarkable speed. Consequently, the lack of obvious signs of a transition--and the lack of disputes about devolution, particularly between the government of the UK and the devolved administrations--meant that the view spread that devolution was a "done deal", a reform that was completed leaving no further issues. Certainly, that was the view in 10 Downing Street for much of last five years. That view would not be shared by many involved with making or implementing public policy in almost any domestic policy sector and in any part of the UK. Devolution has created a range of anomalies, discrepancies and complexities in almost every sector. This report will explore the implications of devolution for higher education. Section 1, the introduction, summarises the institutional framework of devolution, how intergovernmental relations work, discusses its implications and effects for Westminster and Whitehall in general terms, and discusses the political situation and its policy implications as it has developed during 2007. Section 2 sketches, in broad and general terms, the key features of higher education policy in each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It aims to enable readers to compare the systems and their overall approaches, and to put into context some of the more specific policy issues discussed later. Section 3 discusses issues relating to students, including the location and growth of the UK's student population, cross-border flows, participation rates, international students and student fees and finance, to identify the different sorts of polices pursued in each part of the UK. Section 4 is about issues relating to degrees and qualifications. Section 5 considers institutional issues--the conferring of university status, and issues relating to institutional reconfiguration and mergers. Section 6 looks in detail at how research funding is allocated territorially, the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), research collaboration and pooling, governance arrangements and the broader implications of these issues. Section 7 explores financial issues--particularly looking at the systems of student funding and their implications for institutions and the higher education sector in each part of the UK. Section 8 draws conclusions for the development of higher education across the UK as a result of devolution. Contextual data by Nigel Brown and Brian Ramsden are appended. (Contains 30 tables, 4 charts and 55 notes.)
Universities UK. Woburn House, 20 Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9HQ, UK. Tel: +44-20-7419-4111; Fax: +44-20-7388-8649; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Universities UK (England)
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (Northern Ireland); United Kingdom (Scotland); United Kingdom (Wales)