Sunday, April 19, 2009


budget On Friday night, our "tame" (he's going to love that ;-) Leicester City Councillor Ross Grant was Twittering about Gordon Brown's forthcoming budget. I expressed the opinion that with the pressure that public spending will be under, education should be a priority. Understandably, Ross suggested I was playing devils-advocate and asked what the priories were within education - in higher education is it quality or quantity?

I didn't answer Ross on Friday night, because after a long hard day at the keyboard, at that time I had a date with Gardener's World and a cheeky little single malt. But I did spend the next few hours pondering his question. And the answer is:

It doesn't matter.

What matters is time. Education doesn't fit into the familiar political or economic cycles. At the end of one economic boom you know there'll be another one along in a decade. One government falls, another rises. Who cares? The education cycle doesn't work on that timescale. Screw up one generation, and it'll take another two or three generations to repair the damage. In higher education, both quality and quantity are important for the national economy. But what matters more is money.

Education costs money.
Ignorance costs more.