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Universities challenged: we must not overturn a successful system

A thousand wasteful weeds are set to bloom in Jo Johnson's HERB garden

By Alison Wolf   January 2017

Reform could beget qualification factories ©Robert Judges/Rex/Shutterstock

Jo Johnson, the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, argues that our universities “act like bouncers,” stopping people entering their club. He also likens them to an aggressive hamburger chain: specifically, McDonald’s trying to stop Byron Burgers from setting up nearby. His Higher Education and Research Bill (HERB) purports to tackle this supposed misbehaviour. It has cleared the Commons at speed.

In fact, some 70 new universities have been established in England since 1986,…

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