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Higher Education: Standards

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he plans to take to maintain the international reputation of the UK's higher education sector. (247970)

We have a world class system of higher education in this country, with rising student numbers, high levels of student satisfaction and graduate employability, and an increasing world share of citations and high-impact research papers. Government investment in higher education is 23 per cent. higher than in 1997. That is in sharp contrast to the 36 per cent. fall in funding per student in the previous 10 years. We have also doubled investment in research.

As part of our debate on the future of higher education, we have received contributions from a range of individuals and organisations in the sector. These contributions stress the importance of internationalisation, and of ensuring that we maintain our leading position in higher education internationally.

We want to ensure that our higher education system remains world class, and we are clear that international competition will increase. To do this we need to have a long-term approach. We will publish a framework during 2009 which will set out our vision for higher education over the next 10 to 15 years. However, it will not be a rigid plan: it will be capable of being adjusted over time as the world changes, but will set a compelling vision of long-term success.