Why isn’t higher education seen as playing a role in levelling up? On first reading the Levelling Up the United Kingdom White Paper, there appears to be a 'higher education' sized gap in the middle of its argument, between where it talks about the need for more 'skills' (without specifying the levels of study required) and where it identifies the need to grow 'research and development clusters' in left behind areas. It manages to do this without reference to where highly qualified researchers are educated and choose to live, or the relationship between where those researchers live and where hi-tech companies choose to locate.
Universities have proved their worth in the COVID-19 crisis, responding at speed not simply to their own students and research partners’ changed demands, but to the communities and the national effort. But there is a clear sense that the skies will darken once the immediate crisis abates. The concerns include a precipitous fall in international students and constrained local mobility, student retention and progression to university, and the impact of a prolonged economic recession on research and development budgets. These concerns led Universities UK – the umbrella body for the country’s 137 universities, of which I am a Board member, to develop a proposal to government for a systematic programme of support.
With ‘lockdown’ firmly in place, no-one can be in doubt about Government rules. However, only recently the BBC News reported anti-social behaviour being on the increase. There will be those who always misbehave, however, daily I see groups of, I'm sure, 'normally law-abiding citizens' gathered together, playing, or simply enjoying the sunshine. This is particularly concerning given the volume of media reminders.