Last week I met with London Higher the body which represents over 40 Higher Education institutions.
I was fortunate to have an extended discussion with Professor Jane Broadbent Deputy Vice Chancellor at Roehampton University who like me was on the feminist frontline in the 1970s and 1980s and chairs the London Europe Group. Arrangements were kindly made by Doctor Michael Reynier from London Higher Education who had a deep and impressive knowledge of European funding in London. He also facilitated my meeting with Alex Conway Head of the European Programme Unit at the London Development Agency and Callista Punch, Head of UK Higher Education’s Europe Unit.
I am always pleased to have the opportunity to report on my work in Europe and also to be armed with more information to advocate on London’s behalf. I have written previously, about the world class standards to be found at London’s universities. It was interesting and significant from a Euroean perspective that the importance of promoting language learning was a major theme of the meeting.
The London Europe Group meets regularly to coordinate their work and share best practice. It was an insight for me to understand how higher education institutions have to navigate thir way between the Government Office for London (GOL), the Mayor of London and the European institutions. For my part I was pleased to be able to reflect the high esteem London’s acadmic institutions are held in by other MEPs. Sometimes I think we take for granted the standards of excellence there are in British education. I also welcomed the detail provided at the meeting as to how government funding of research affects private sector decisions on where to direct their research. We further discussed the Bologna process, skills and employability.
I was pleased to have attended this group for the first time and will be staying in touch and attending future meetings. Whatever the economic future we face, I believe that by continuing to invest in higher education we can secure a prosperous future for all.
My thanks to the group for their warm welcome and hospitality.