Main content

How and why we educate

Combative, provocative and engaging live debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Mona Siddiqui, Melanie Philips, Matthew Taylor and Anne McElvoy. #moralmaze

Universities are counting the cost of COVID-19. They’ve lost revenue from international students, they’re struggling for investment and some of them are finding it hard to meet their pension commitments. As many as 13 of them may no longer be financially viable, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The question of whether or not cash-strapped universities should be bailed out is moral as well as financial. It summons conflicting arguments about the social value of these institutions and the role they have in wider education. In the 1970s and 1980s between 8% and 19% of school-leavers went on to higher education; today it’s 50%. Should we be proud that at least half our young adults are engaged in self-directed learning? Some say yes, it’s a moral achievement and well worth holding on to. Others observe that whereas we may now have more graduates than ever, never before have their qualifications been worth so little. How we view universities has implications for schools, where hitting grade targets is the de facto measure of success. The pandemic has exposed the weakness of this approach, according to its critics, because it relies too heavily on testing as an end in itself. While some decry the lockdown as a disaster for a ‘lost generation’ of young people, others see it as a once-in-a generation opportunity to re-think not just how we’re educating our children but what education should be aiming to achieve. With Nick Hillman, Sir Anthony Seldon, Niamh Sweeney and Tim Worstall.

Producer: Dan Tierney.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Sat 18 Jul 2020 22:15


  • Wed 15 Jul 2020 20:00
  • Sat 18 Jul 2020 22:15

The Evidence Toolkit

The Evidence Toolkit

Check out the claims made in news stories with this interactive tool.