University is about 'more than getting a job'

Universities should take the holistic development of students into consideration, not simply prepare them for the world of work, a church education adviser has said.

Dr Stephen Heap writes in a new booklet published this month that current higher education policies are individualised, instrumentalised and marketised.

He criticises this approach, saying that universites should be about more than serving the economy and helping students to get jobs.

In "What are Universities Good For?", he says people need to think not only about what is best for themselves but for the common good.

Without this, higher education will fail both individuals and societies, contends Dr Heap, National Higher Education Adviser for the Church of England.

"Behind the changes, even behind the increase in fees, is a view of higher education which is open to challenge in the light of Christian and more general thinking," he writes.

Dr Heap goes on to say that universities should also consider "holistic development, helping to form students, not just into good employees, but into good citizens and good individuals who are able to face life's challenges and opportunities in a moral and wise way".

"What are Universities Good For?" is published by Grove Books, Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and is available at