The debates about higher education quality in Britain and the USA
In Britain ‘quality˚s has been set alongside ‘value for money˚s as a policy goal in higher education. The debate in the USA, by contrast, pairs ‘quality˚s with ‘equity˚s, ‘equality˚s, or ‘access˚s. For the most part, the public debate in Britain has lacked two other elements that are conspicuous in the American one: discussion of curricular content (e.g. the nature of liberal education and the plight of the ‘humanities˚s) and references to hard evidence about either the decline or maintenance of standards. There is, of course, much common ground—e.g. the need for more good mathematicians and technologists. The principal reasons for the different forms the debate has taken are (broadly) political and structural. Nevertheless, the debate in each country can benefit from knowledge of the other's problems, practices, and principles.
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