Magazine article Public Finance

Study of Science to Be Trusted to Market Forces

Magazine article Public Finance

Study of Science to Be Trusted to Market Forces

Article excerpt

Government intervention to help protect unpopular science subjects in universities has been ruled out by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

In a report commissioned by former education secretary Charles Clarke, the HEFCE warned against a 'moral panic' over widespread course closures in subjects such as physics, chemistry and maths.

Instead, the council emphasised the need for trusting 'market forces' and university independence on making their own decisions over closures, claiming it was inevitable that some courses would disappear.

'We mustn't hold back innovation by indulging in a moral panic over department closures, when the decision to close might be made for very sensible reasons,' said Sir Howard Newby, head of the HEFCE.

He added there was 'no enthusiasm' for 'heavy-handed bureaucratic intervention to ensure that some courses remain.

Nearly a third of all departments in universities offering physics have closed in the past ten years. …

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