Robbins Rebooted - Social Market Foundation

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How We Earn Our Way in the Second Machine Age

In this pamphlet, the Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills, the Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP, sets out options for reforming Britain's universities to boost the country's knowledge economy and open high paying technical and professional jobs to all.

Robbins Rebooted

Robbins Rebooted How We Earn Our Way in the Second Machine Age

Robbins Rebooted How We Earn Our Way in the Second Machine Age The Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

Robbins Rebooted How We Earn Our Way in the Second Machine Age

by The Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP

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FIRST PUBLISHED BY The Social Market Foundation, August 2014 ISBN: 978-1-904899-95-2 11 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QB Copyright © The Social Market Foundation, 2014 The moral right of the authors has been asserted. All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the publisher of this book.

THE SOCIAL MARKET FOUNDATION The Foundation’s main activity is to commission and publish original papers by independent academic and other experts on key topics in the economic and social fields, with a view to stimulating public discussion on the performance of markets and the social framework within which they operate. The Foundation is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. It is independent of any political party or group and is funded predominantly through sponsorship of research and public policy debates. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author, and these do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors or the Social Market Foundation.

CHAIR Mary Ann Sieghart MEMBERS OF THE BOARD Lord Charles Falconer Daniel Franklin Baroness Olly Grender MBE Nicola Horlick Graham Mather Sir Brian Pomeroy CBE Peter Readman Baroness Gillian Shepherd Professor Alison Wolf

DIRECTOR Emran Mian DESIGN AND PRODUCTION Pistachio Design www.pistachiodesign.com PRINTED BY Diversified Global Graphics Group www.dg3.com

CONTENTS Foreword

4

Acknowledgments

6

About the Author

8

Introduction

9

Chapter 1: A 1964 moment

13

Chapter 2: How we earn a living in the second machine age

21

Chapter 3: The Five Tests?

30

Chapter 4: Robbins Rebooted

47

Conclusion

86

End notes

89

SOCIAL MARKET FOUNDATION

FOREWORD Last October, we marked the 50th anniversary of the Robbins report on higher education by publishing an essay by David Willetts, then Minister for Universities and Science. Higher education has provided a leading example of reform in this Parliament, just as it did during the Blair years, and it remains a focus of attention. It is a sector where public and private funding combines, by design, and the role of public funding combined with regulation is to ensure that a group of basically private actors - the higher education institutions - meet public objectives. It is no wonder that a think tank like ours, interested in how market mechanisms can contribute to the pursuit of social justice, has always done a lot of work on higher education. In this pamphlet, Liam Byrne uses his own reading of Robbins to set out a vision for higher education. While Willetts focused on the Robbins themes of improving teaching quality and expanding higher education, Byrne predicts that the leading challenge for universities is supplying knowledge and higher level skills in “the second machine age.” Just as Robbins’ rep