Universities of Britain and the Future


    A SPECIAL number of the Political Quarterly devoted to the future of the universities of Britain contains an article by Sir Lawrence Bragg, "Organisation and Finance of Science in Universities". Sir Lawrence urges the importance of further steps to ensure that the fullest use is made of scientific men and potential scientific workers of the highest quality; and he suggests that more care should be taken to see that the highest ability does not 'fall off the educational ladder' before reaching the university, and that young people possessing such qualities should be carefully guided as to the courses they pursue at the university and the careers they take up afterwards. Then he suggests that an attempt should be made to avoid distracting our best university men from their real work by loading upon them too many extraneous duties, and finally he directs attention to the way in which lack of sufficient money for aids to research reduces the efficiency of our best scientific investigators. Dr. C. P. Snow also examines the question of careers, and pleads for a standing Government committee to report at least once a year on trends in employment of graduates; the Appointments Department of the Ministry of Labour should act in close touch with such a standing committee and have as an essential task the diffusion of information to undergraduates; and the university appointments boards should be strengthened in the large universities on the Cambridge scale, and developed on tutorial lines in the smaller universities. Sir Ernest Simon discusses the number of university students, and Mr. G. D. H. Cole's article on "The Social Studies in the Universities" includes a suggestion for group research in place of individual research for the average postgraduate student, which may have potentialities elsewhere also. Bruce Truscot discusses the "University and its Region", indicating possible developments, and Prof. John Macmurray the functions of a university, stressing the importance of the cultural function, in which the universities of Great Britain are most conspicuously lacking.

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