The British Academy responds to report by the Independent Commission on the College of the Future
28 Oct 2020
The British Academy today welcomes the final report from the Independent Commission on the College of the Future.
The College of the Future calls for every adult to have the right to lifetime education and training, with colleges better supported to deliver this in every community in the United Kingdom.
Chaired by Professor Sir Ian Diamond FBA, the commission has set out how colleges can be supported across the four nations of the UK to deliver the lifelong learning and business support needed for people, employers and communities to survive and thrive in the future.
Leaders from across business, academia, unions, colleges, and the student body from all four nations have endorsed the report’s recommendations.
Professor Simon Swain FBA, Vice President for Research and Higher Education at the British Academy, said:
“The British Academy welcomes the Commission’s recommendations and its UK-wide focus on people, productivity and place. As the national voice for the humanities and social sciences, we agree that action is needed across the whole of the UK to enable colleges to play a central role in our recovery from the COVID-19 crisis but also as fundamental parts of the education and skills system.
“If we are to effectively respond to challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, lagging productivity and environmental sustainability, we must draw upon the knowledge and skills gained through the study of SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy) subjects. These disciplines furnish individuals with a robust and varied set of skills, allowing individuals to transform their own lives and those of others.
“Colleges have an essential role to play in supporting individuals to learn throughout their lives and in facilitating better knowledge exchange for employers both in business and the public sector. In so doing, colleges can become anchor institutions and the focus of local innovation systems. Meanwhile, building stronger networks between colleges and other organisations, including universities, will help maximise the opportunities available, allowing more people to gain new skills of all kinds. All of this is vital to help address our present and future challenges.
“The Academy particularly welcomes the recommendation to require colleges to work more closely together to identify and address local and regional skills needs. This echoes our calls for the creation of regional further education language hubs, including collaboration with universities where appropriate, to provide access to the language learning which is needed to enable the UK to extend its economic and cultural partnerships across the world.”