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Bruce, T. Universities and constitutional change in the UK: The impact of devolution on the higher education sector. Higher Education Policy Institute, Oxford, 2012. Pages: 110.
Universities and constitutional change in the UK aims to address two principal questions stemming from the devolution of higher education policy powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1999. The first question looks at the extent to which the devolved countries are developing their own distinctive systems of higher education, and the second one examines the impact of devolution on the performance of these systems since 1999. The report also analyses the different higher education strategies employed by the governments and the principles in which these are embedded.
The primary lenses of analysis include the divergent policies for funding of teaching, research funding and assessment, governance and quality assurance. Their evolution is then discussed in the light of recent political changes and policy reviews, including the new fee regime implemented in England. The author concludes that devolving higher education has brought benefits to the devolved countries but also significant disadvantages as the performance of the systems has been mixed. From the perspective of a prospective student, the funding changes have meant additional layers of complexity with differences in fee and maintenance arrangements that are increasingly difficult to navigate.Higher Education Policy Institute