What we have traced to this point is both the growth of a system and the changing articulation of direction, purpose and change by a series of advocates who sought to influence opinion about higher education. From the promoters of institutions in the early decades of the twentieth century, to those who reflected on the roles of universities in the social and international upheavals of the mid-century, and to those who sought values and relevance alongside concerns about the state-as-financier, we have seen shifting relationships amongst advocates, institutions, policies and the system. The 'opinion' towards which advocates directed their messages was variously that of political and social elites, the leadership of the institutions, academe in general, national and international publics. From the early 1960s, however, the meaning of 'advocates' and 'opinion' changed, the direction from which influential messages and policies were coming was different, and past agendas that included autonomy, purpose, values or scale and community, were either intensified or radically altered.
In England the crucial feature of the system in the early 1960s was expansion. The seven new universities were being planned before the Robbins committee on higher education was appointed in 1961, and they were opening either before it reported in 1963 or soon afterwards. The CATs were rapidly increasing their degree-level work under the auspices of the NCTA. The teacher training colleges were raising their entry standards and turning their two- into three-year courses. Sir Edward Boyle opened a conference in 1961 by wondering how many people realized the speed of change. Immediately after the war full-time higher education was 'almost entirely confined to the system of universities which existed at that time, by 1970 there may well be 100 institutions substantially engaged in providing full-time higher education'. He also reflected long after the event that although the Robbins committee had been intended to further university expansion, the central reason for appointing the committee was 'the consciousness,
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Publication information: Book title: Higher Education and Opinion Making in Twentieth-Century England. Contributors: Harold Silver - Author. Publisher: Woburn Press. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 177.
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