British higher education is internationally perceived as being in crisis. In this book A. H. Halsey examines how the present-day situation developed. Beginning with the 1963 Robbins Report, he argues that, despite the subsequent expansion of higher education, this initiative represented a failed thrust towards mass higher education. He shows how the rise of liberal economic policies was irrelevant to the long-term decline of academic power and demonstrates how
power has ebbed away from academics towards government, and towards students and industry as consumers of education and research. Professor Halsey's arguments are buttressed by
extensive surveys, carried out in 1964, 1976, and 1989, which chart the development of academic opinion in universities and polytechnics. The survey reveals low morale, disappointment, and resentment; but these feelings are still combined with a persistent belief in the British idea of university. Professor Halsey's discussion and analysis provide vital information about the current state of Britain's higher education system and offer an important contribution to the
fierce debate about educational and training policies which is currently one of the central topics of British political debate.
`Halsey's book should be read by every British academic curious about how we got where we are.'
John Sutherland, London Review of Books
`an elegant and deeply caring review of the changing role of higher education itself ... Halsey's account of the academic profession deserves a much wider readership than the narrow confines of the academic community because it raises important cultural issues about the education system as a whole.'
Michael Shattock, Times Higher Education Supplement
`a timely analysis of present discontents. It reflects a lifetime of academic ornithology, and is a brilliant summation of the rise and fall of the multivarious species of the genus academicus in the post-war period ... Though it does not pretend to offer solutions, it may shock both policy-makers and academics into much-needed radical reform. It deserves the widest, and the wisest, readership.'
Harold Perkin, Times Literary Supplement
`a masterly survey of England's slow slouch towards mass higher education'
`Whatever today's increase in numbers, Halsey's arguments are still valid, and are solidly buttressed by extensive surveys, carried out in 1964, 1976 and 1989.'
'For historians it will remain a classic text on the confrontation between Thatcherites and academics.'
Janet Haworth, Oxford Magazine, Michaelmas Term, 1992
'Halsey's arguments are still valid, and are solidly buttressed by extensive surveys, carried out in 1964, 1976 and 1989.'
'The data gathered makes the author's analysis of British higher education since the Robbins Report both illuminating and convincing as a contribution to the current political debate on education and training in this country.'
Peter Gosden, University of Leeds, Journal of Educational Administration and History, Volume 25, Number 1, January 1993
`interesting, elegant and perceptive ... This is a book to read and to think about.'
`the picture he draws is accurate and well-incorporated into the argument ... The entire book contains a variety of charts and statistics that will be helpful for those interested in the decline of higher education. Anyone interested in a sociological approach to the problems of higher education will find it especially useful.'
CAUT Bulletin ACPPU
`required reading for anyone interested in the sociology of education or the relation between academia and politics' Contemporary Sociology
'a fascinating account ... this social scientific study is well grounded in higher education research literature ... Its reasoned approach to the nuances, and at times, strident articulation of positions taken and held by disparate camps in the continuing and at times, vociferous discussions of the raison d'etre of higher education in British national life compelling. A.H. Halsey has written a major study which is as illuminating for its
presentation of argument as for its empirical data. For those scholars interested in the collective life of a nation's higher education system and lofty aspirations, it is a requisite work.'
Jean-=Pierre V.M. Herubel, Purdue University Libraries, Libraries & Culture, Volume 28, Number 4, Fall 1993
`Professor Halsey provides us with a mass of relevant and some recondite information ... Professor Halsey is an excellent guide. At the outset let it be said that this is an admirable book, informative, stimulating and enjoyable for anyone concerned with higher education.'
Oxford Review of Education