Although higher education in the UK has expanded opportunities for much of the population, in many ways it remains stubbornly elitist.
In order to address this crisis in education, Peter Scott, a leading expert and unique voice, examines the development of mass higher education and proposes a ‘radical escape-forward’. He calls for more robust action to secure fair access at all levels and changes in the governance and management at both system and institutional levels to ensure more democratic accountability.
Setting out a clear and radical programme for reform, this book makes an important contribution to current debates in education in the context of the evolution of the UK economy and wider society.
“You could read Retreat or Revolution as a history book – a successful and readable one… But for me a short coda is the heart of the book – an exploration of higher education yet to come.” Wonkhe
"An eagerly awaited investigation of major debates and challenges concerning the purposes of mass higher education in the contemporary world by one of the leading scholars in the field. In elegant prose he explores complex social, cultural, economic and political interactions associated with the expansion of higher education in the UK and internationally. This important book which should be read by anyone interested in finding ways in which higher education might better realise the potential of individuals and wider society." Maria Slowey, Higher Education Research Centre, Dublin City University
"In the face of snobbery and complacency, this seminal analysis of the past, present and future of mass higher education offers an impassioned and compelling case for its transformative power." Paul Ashwin, Lancaster University
"A masterful account of the evolution of mass higher education in the UK and beyond by one of its foremost practitioners and analysts. Beautiful and engagingly written, this is a characteristically timely, learned, and readable book." Manja Klemenčič, Harvard University
"Peter Scott draws on international comparison to call for a 'radical escape forward' to address longstanding, widely-regarded traditions in higher education, such as access conditions and modes of governance." Ulrich Teichler, International Centre for Higher Education Research Kassel, Germany
“Offers important historical reflections on key issues faced by mass higher education today and proposes an alternative path towards an inclusive and democratic model of universal higher education.” Vincent Carpentier, UCL Institute of Education
“Peter Scott provides the essential historical narrative for our times. An engine of social, cultural and economic progress – higher education has left too many people behind. Helpfully, Peter provides us with a road-map. A must read.” Ellen Hazelkorn, Technological University Dublin
"A must read for anyone interested in higher education. Scott offers a thought-provoking, insightful, and beautifully written historical perspective on the emergence of mass higher education and its consequences." Claire Callender, Birkbeck and UCL Institute of Education
“[A] new vision for learning at all levels must be developed… Scott’s compendious policy study enlivened with personal memoire and journalistic account makes an invaluable contribution to this task.” Post-16 Educator
“This intricately interwoven but readable record will be essential for future scholarship of higher education. [...] A new vision for learning at all levels must be developed by all involved in the struggle for it. Scott’s compendious policy study enlivened with personal memoir and journalistic account makes an invaluable contribution to this task.” Council for the Defence of British Universities
Peter Scott is (Emeritus) Professor of Higher Education at the UCL Institute of Education. He has worked as a journalist and an academic and is currently Commissioner for Fair Access for the Scottish Government. Former Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University. Peter Scott was knighted in 2007 for services to education.
1. A ‘General Crisis’?
2. ‘Post-War’ to Post-Millennium
3. The Development of Mass Higher Education
4. Themes and Transformations
5. Higher Education Today
6. A Further Gaze
7. The UK in the 21st Century
8. COVID-19 Emergency and Market Experiment
9. What is to be done?