Clause 30 - General duties of relevant authority

Part of Higher Education Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:10 am on 4th March 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Shadow Minister (Education) 9:10 am, 4th March 2004

I agree with the hon. Gentleman's aspirations, but I disagree totally with his way of achieving them. Such developments are already taking place. The idea that the university sector sits in an ivory tower and pays no attention to society at large is not correct. All round the country, there are partnerships between universities and local further education colleges, for example, to create bridges between those who have gone into further rather than higher education and to help them make the jump into higher education. Universities run programmes all over the country to open their doors to people whose potential they recognise and who often perform well at university.

My point is simply that passing laws is not the solution to the problem. If the Government do not like something in our society, their natural instinct is to pass a law. The problem should be handled voluntarily through the university sector, encouraged by politicians and through information about the nature of the challenge. I passionately believe that passing a law—we shall discuss the consequences of that in a moment—is the wrong thing to do.