Get in training for huge student hike

MERGER of the further and higher education funding councils could help boost post-16 participation rates to 95 per cent of the population, according to one university vice chancellor.

Brian Roper, vice chancellor of the University of North London, called for a single adult learning council. It would be responsible for overseeing funding allocations according to the educational value added by institutions. He also called for regional collaboration between further and higher education.

Mr Roper, who delivered his pre-publication critique of the Dearing Report at a public lecture on Tuesday, called the present 33 per cent higher education participation rate lamentable and attacked the system for failing the working class.

He said that blue skies research ought to be concentrated in a handful of the UK's world-class research universities. The rest of the sector should concentrate on teaching. Mr Roper dismissed those who say taking more students leads to lower quality.

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