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Scenario B: uni_public

Collaborative Society & Contracting Economy

Cover_featured_uvThe broader outlook

Consecutive governments have responded to continuing stagnation of the economy by creating an active industrial policy in collaboration with business and unions. This long term policy focusses on sustainability and enjoys a high degree of consensus across the political divide. The political situation is stable and there is high democratic involvement at local level.

The shift to localism has been accompanied by an emphasis on sustainable economies to prevent overstretch and exposure to the exogenous shocks of global markets. The consolidation of local economies has been driven by devolved regional assemblies where local private sector stakeholders share a platform with elected representatives and public sector leaders. Together they hone and shape funding allocations as well as decide on local skills systems. A major aim of regional assemblies has been to achieve self-sufficiency in terms of energy production and promoting local food production.

Universities as local community hubs

As part of the active industrial policy, universities are delivering courses dictated by initiatives set out by regional assemblies that vice-chancellors sit on. They are also funded by government to play a wider role in their community. With limited government resources, however, local post-secondary institutions have merged so that there is one per locality to deliver the required skills and activities.

The shape of the university sector is controlled by the local assemblies with one of each ‘type’ of university allowed in each region. Courses and student numbers are determined by the government’s industrial policy, taking into consideration the long term needs of sectors and public services in that locality.

This leads to a focus on delivering students trained for planned jobs. Much of this training is done in collaboration with their potential future employer. Similarly, the research agenda is focused on economic and social issues requiring a technological solution.

Universities are at the heart of their local communities. They provide residents with leisure services, evening classes, library access and technology use, which for many has become unaffordable.

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