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Think tank to stimulate college debate

A think tank is to be set up to address the "intellectual deficit" in the learning and skills sector.

The Learning and Skills Network is planning a think tank to explore issues and stimulate debate in four areas: the changing teaching and learning market; pedagogy and professionalism; leadership and management; the changing political; and structural landscape for learning and skills.

Raj Patel, associate director of research and policy, said: "Far more money is put into evidence generation for schools and universities than for colleges. The feeling is that there is an intellectual deficit and the idea is to address that."

The think tank will look at the new generation of learners, attempting to establish who they are and how they are likely to engage with learning. It will look at the nature and role of teaching and learning as these activities are professionalised. It will focus on issues relating to the physical and virtual teaching and learning environment and how this will change as the economy continues its shift away from manufacturing and other traditional activities towards a knowledge economy.

It will explore the importance of leadership and management in improving quality and issues around institutional structure.

The final broad area of interest will be the changes underway at a political level, including the demise of the Learning and Skills Council and the continuing importance of the market in learning and skills.

Further details are expected in the summer.

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