§ Mr. George
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what considerations her Department has given to policies for higher education in the period after 1981–82.
§ Mrs. Shirley Williams
My Department has today published, jointly with the Scottish Education Department, a discussion document "Higher Education into the 1990s". At the present time, when all that is certain about the higher education system in the 1980s and early 1990s is that there will be a sharp demographic decline in the 18-year-old age group, from which the great majority of the entrants have traditionally come, it seems right that before any policies are adopted by the Government there should be wide and well-informed public discussion of the possible ways in which the system might develop. The purpose of the document therefore is not to announce conclusions but to focus attention on the main issues, to survey possibilities, and to invite views and comments over the next few months both from higher education interests and from the public at large. Copies of the document have been placed in the Library and may be obtained free on application to either Department.