The benefits of a university education


A University Education. By David Willetts. Oxford University Press; 432 pages; $32.50 and £25.

IN 1945 there were 500 universities across the globe. Today there are more than 10,000. As universities continue to displace apprenticeships and the armed forces as the main path to adulthood in the rich world, scrutiny of higher education has increased. In England critics see universities as hotbeds of anti-Brexit provocation and places where censorious students stifle debate. Complaints about hefty fees and lacklustre teaching are common.

David Willetts, Britain’s higher education minister in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition and now a Tory peer, argues against those who say the answer is to turn the clock back by cutting student numbers. “A University Education” is not the mix of gossip and post hoc justification normally churned out by former ministers. Instead, Lord Willetts provides something…Continue reading

Powered by WPeMatico

Redeeming Mary Magdalene

EVERY generation of artists has brought its own sensibilities and experiences to the depiction of canonical Christian stories. Giotto, an Italian painter, set Bible scenes in medieval Tuscany. Rembrandt gave his a hint of mercantile 17th-century Amsterdam. “Mary Magdalene” is similarly a retelling of some of the faith’s main events …

The mysterious reggaeton bangers of Mexico’s election

FOR evidence that modern democracy has lost its pep, look back to the age of cheery campaign jingles. The art form dominated elections from America to the Philippines after the second world war. Australian political parties used them well into the 1980s. It is tempting to believe that melodious campaigns …

The maddest March: at last, a 16-seed upsets a number one

THE line separating the improbable from the impossible is hard to pin down. The annual single-elimination tournament to crown the champion of North America’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in men’s basketball is known as “March Madness”, thanks to the steady diet of upsets it produces. Every year, a few …