Govt tells science to budge up for arts at new hi-tech uni
UK minister does what that nice Mr Google suggested
Science and universities minister David Willetts wants to start a new technology university, pretty much following what Eric Schmidt said about mixing up the arts and sciences.
Willetts name-dropped the Google boss in a speech at Policy Exchange yesterday, announcing the launch of his plans for a high-tech Britain. The humanities had to be included in any vision of Blighty as an engineering powerhouse, he said citing Schmidt as an authority:
Eric Schmidt of Google caught the mood in his MacTaggart lecture when he said that this arts v sciences debate really ought to be dead and buried and instead we should recognise how complementary they are. I like the idea that instead of just thinking about STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths, we should add the Arts so it becomes STEAM.
At the centre of Willetts' plan for promoting growth in high-tech sectors is the creation of a new science and technology university, which will be dedicated to postgraduate research and funded from the private sector - primarily international companies with an interest in employing British graduates.
Willetts said it would be a "new type of university" and that he was inviting proposals on how to do it from "local economic partnerships, universities, businesses and international partners".
In the wide-ranging speech, Willetts also called for more co-operation between sciences, referencing satellite-controlled fertiliser distributors as an example of co-operation between "the 'wet' biological sciences" and the "data processing capacities of 'dry' IT".
Some more practical measures for encouraging UK tech business were also on the cards including more focused funding on offer for businesses not yet at the stage of venture capital investment. The government would be reintroducing Smart awards he said - government-sponsored prizes that highlight strong new technologies, making venture capitalists more confident about investing in British business.
David Willetts' speech can be read here. ®
Another bright idea
<mini-rant>Not wishing to make any criticism of dear old two brains, but we already have too many universities and are likely to see some going to the wall in the next few years. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, don't most existing ones already teach arts as well as science? Many universities already do the public/private partneship thing with local and multinational firms, so I'm not seeing the big idea here.
It might be more advantageous to concentrate on making secondary school science courses relevant and fun (remember experiments, those of you who are old enough), really jack up the computer science teaching (discussed ad nauseam here already) and provide good vocational courses for those who don't want to or can't (for whatever reason) go to university.
Next, how about technical colleges for the latter group? Perhaps support regional arts colleges too. You could even, if really daring, concentrate on improving what we already have rather than having a new half-baked educational initiative every year.</mini-rant>
Here's a thought
Make core science (maths, chemistry, biology, physics etc) and humanities (literature, history, art - art history can go fuck itself) courses free and only allow Universities to charge for idiotic bullshit courses like Media Studies etc.
Then the state can subsidise the people whose choice of course might actually be of some benefit to the country and the ones who just want to go to uni because it looks like something to do for 3 - 4 years can fuck off...
Just a thought...
Came here to say just that
A University - a place that teaches the full gamut of courses to the highest standard.
My solution to those "universities" that want to drop physics and chemistry because they are too expensive is that they should, of course be allowed to do so, but should also lose the university moniker. Polytechnic has a nice ring to it.