Sticks and Carrots

The Effectiveness of Government Policy on Higher Education in England since 1979

Institutional Management in Higher Education

This article will look at some of the key objectives of Government policy in the UK over the last 20 years, including increasing efficiency and accountability, expansion of student numbers, selectivity in research funding, regionalisation, widening participation, wealth creation and increasing contributions to the quality of life, and at the various measures used to implement such policy. It will contrast the use of "sticks" (i.e. incentives to deliver desired outcomes), and will consider which have been more successful in achieving the goals of Government policy.

The article will also address the implications of such tools of policy on the freedom and autonomy of individual institutions and on diversity within the higher education system. It will consider the role of Government policy in shaping higher education, as compared with other forces for change, including shifting patterns of student demand, rapid developments in technology and methods of learning, new patterns of research and innovation, and the internationalisation of higher education.

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