List of questions:

1. History of higher education

2. Oxbridge

3. Oxford university

4. Students life

5. British universities

6. Further education



1. .. : . , , 2006.

2. .. . ., , 2003.

3. .. . . , : -, 2006.

4. Markova N. Across England to Scotland. Prosveshchenie M., 1971.

5. M. Pugh A History of Britain. Oxford, 2001.

6. M. Vaughan-Rees In Britain. Lnd., 1999.



Higher education in Britain has a long and distinctive history. Yet it is only during the course of about the last 40 years that it has become possible to speak of a system of higher education in the United Kingdom. Up to comparatively recent times Britain was much behind many countries of the world in the provision of higher education. Even today less than one third of school leavers receive post-school education in Britain, compared with over 80 per cent in Germany, France, the United States and Japan.

Though Oxford and Cambridge appeared as early as 1168 and 1209 respectively for almost seven centuries they remained the only universities of the country. Then in the course of less than a hundred years tem more universities were created. It was only in the first half of the 19th century that further universities were established in Durham and London. These were followed in Manchester and Wales. In the first decade of the 20th century five provincial universities came into being: Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, and Bristol. These five with Manchester established a new tradition in university education. Each was the product of a large industrial city and was closely linked with its occupations. Each catered mainly for local students and was consequently non-residential. The fees and other expenses were low. Up to 1945 Britain had only 17 universities.

The post-war period witnessed an unprecedented growth of university education in advanced industrial countries recognized as Britains main rival in economic power and political prestige. Up to 1964 the number of university students was trebled in France and in the Soviet Union, doubled in Germany, in the United States and Japan. Britain fell far behind these countries and hurriedly took measures to expand university system. In this process three main stages may be distinguished.

1) The emergence of the Redbrick universities based on the university colleges. Which now were granted fully independent status: Belfast Queens University, Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter, Hull, Keele, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Reading, Sheffield, Southampton and the Federal University of Wales.

2) The foundation of new White brick later named plate-glass universities in 60s: East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Lancaster, Stirling, Sussex, Warwick, York, York, and New University of Ulster. Most of them took the names of the counties, where they were located.

3) The elevation of the Colleges of Advanced Technology into full technological universities: Aston, Bath, Bradford, Brunel, City, Herriot-Watt, Loughborough, Salford, Strathclyde and Surrey universities. The Conservatives strongly opposed to granting them the University status.

Scotland boasts four universities: Glasgow, Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Aberdeen all founded in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Thus since after the 2nd World War, the number of universities in Great Britain increased from 17 to 47.

Though there were 47 universities in Britain in the second half of the 20th century the university system might be summarized very briefly: there were two universities Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge or Camford) and the rest. Oxbridge is a term that sums up everything that is best in British university life. These universities are privileged. The division between Oxbridge and Redbrick was essentially a class one. The 19th and early 20th century universities were built to provide for education for the poorer boys in the provinces and to give technological training.

To extend the provision of higher education within an educational system comparable in standard to that of a university but different in kind and provide economy with highly trained vocationally-oriented young people thus filling the gap between universities and further education, national institutions, known as polytechnics, were established. They were sometimes referred to as comprehensives of further or higher education. During the early 1970s thirty of the old technical colleges (techs), mainly in cities with universities became polytechnics. They became study centers that offered a wide range of full-time or part-time courses for students of all ages, known as sandwich vocational courses. (These are courses where substantial periods of full time study alternate with periods of supervised experience in industry.) Those courses lead to diplomas or to degrees awarded by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA). In spite of the name polytechnics offered courses in both the arts and the sciences. Thus thirty polytechnics in England and Wales provided a range of higher education courses up to doctoral studies. In Scotland there were similar institutions. The system of universities and polytechnics might be described as a binary system as the contrast was great between two sectors the autonomous university sector and non-autonomous public center of polytechnics which was administered by local authorities.

The basic purpose of the universities has always been to give a first-class education in theories and principles to enable their students to reach a higher standard of creativeness, criticism and flexibility. They teach how to acquire, increase and employ knowledge; they are oriented on research work, on cultivating the minds with who lays the heaviest responsibility for creating the future.

Polytechnics, though having things in common with the universities, differed in the main purpose: their orientation was predominantly vocational. Their emphasis was much more on teaching than research. The biggest among polytechnics was the Central London Polytechnic with 12000 students. The difference in the standard of teaching was reflected in the cost of education, which in polytechnics was more than one third or even half lower.

In spite of the name polytechnics offered courses in both the arts and the sciences. They all aspired to provide the same kind of courses, as universities trying to place equal value on academic and practical work. Time brought changes. The Education Reform act of 1988 established the University Funding Council (UFC), a new body, for disbursing government money to universities. This council may require universities to produce a certain number of qualified people in specific fields. Polytechnics and other larger colleges were made independent of local authorities and funded by UFX in a similar way to universities. These changes raised the standing of the polys and finally equaled them to universities in their status. Thus now the number of universities almost doubled in Britain having changed from 47 to 91.



  1. From the History of Note-Taking
  2. References on educational course
  3. Subject and aims of the course A History of the English Language.
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