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ERIC Number: EJ879299
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-1360-3108
Leitch and Higher Education: The Impact and Relevance of the Review of Skills
Birds, Rachel
Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, v14 n1 p7-11 Jan 2010
This article sets the Leitch Review of Skills in the context of the wider skills debate and draws attention to potential flaws, of which higher education (HE) managers need to be aware when responding to this policy pressure. It argues that there are fundamental flaws in the Leitch report arising from underlying assumptions which are unproven in some cases and even untested in others. Its broad assumptions about the drivers for change being primarily economic are understandable, but the report fails to convince on the basis of strong evidence that government fears are grounded. Furthermore the report has a tendency to oversimplify, while experiences across the sector present a much more complex picture of social and economic trends in western society. Academia is a naturally conservative sector; without a more logical and convincing rationale for change, policy resistance could be high. The report shows little respect for academic institutions and their ability to manage their own curriculum development, while affording employers greater input than perhaps they have the time, willingness, or expertise to provide. A partnership approach can have many benefits but it is important to appreciate its limitations and the inherent tensions between policy and the institutions' adaptability to respond. Crucially, the report fails to convince on its claims to serve social justice. Despite claims for up-skilling as a vehicle of social mobility, experience to date suggests that traditional inequities remain. As ever, the sector has done its best to respond to policy pressures. There have been many successful attempts, particularly in post-1992 universities, to develop employable graduates. The author contends that the recommendations made in the report are unlikely to deliver unless and until sufficient account is taken of current working practices, relationships between the academy and industry, and general organisational culture in UK HE.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom