The HE sector is a source of immense competitive advantage to the UK economy and is a formidable force for social development.
However, the sector is currently facing a series of fundamental challenges that threaten to destroy its position as a global leader in research, innovation, and higher education. This situation has been made worse by the global pandemic crisis. At a local level, many universities are facing tremendous difficulties in identifying their unique purpose – and the resources needed – to continue providing relevant qualifications that meet the requirements of local and regional markets.
Some former and current higher education leaders believe that as many as 20% of UK universities may not survive in this new environment. Indeed, some higher education institutions are already failing, while others are downsizing staff numbers and reducing entry levels as part of a desperate attempt to increase student numbers. The result is an overall lowering of quality which is likely to become even more prominent in the wake of the Covid- 19 pandemic.
The inability of many universities to face up to these challenges and new operating environment in which they exist is fundamentally and demonstrably linked to ineffective university governance.
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