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Higher Education: Spend More, Spend Wisely

October 22, 2009

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, said today that it backed Business Secretary Lord Mandelsons call for business to play a greater part in shaping the education system of the future but urged the Government to spend more on higher education and to spend more wisely.

Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:

Greater business engagement with higher education is crucially important. By engaging with universities businesses have the chance to exploit the research base and improve the quality of graduates. Games businesses are already working with higher education. A TIGA survey in 2008 showed that 39 per cent of developers were working with universities or colleges to develop and deliver courses, share knowledge and cooperate on research activities. Some games businesses make a substantial investment in higher education programmes. For example, Sony and Realtime Worlds work closely with Abertay Universitys Dare to be Digital programme; Ubisoft Reflections has strong links with Teeside and Northumbria universities. TIGA will continue to work promote closer collaboration between universities and training providers with games businesses. TIGA will also continue to articulate the generic and specialist skills that the games industry needs to the Government, parliaments and education providers.

Despite our current economic difficulties we cannot escape the need to invest more in education and to spend it more effectively. As a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) the UK spends less than some of our major competitors. Canada, South Korea and the USA spend between 2.5 per and 2.9 per cent of GDP on tertiary education, compared to just 1 per cent in the UK. We need to increase the proportion of GDP devoted to tertiary education.

In terms of effectiveness, we need to incentivise the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics for students. We also need to encourage universities to enable graduates to do real work projects that enhance their skills and undertake research outputs, including the creation of Intellectual Property. Measures that lead universities to undertake near-market research and technology development should be promoted.

The Government should also benchmark the quality of higher education provision and the level of business-university engagement against that of our overseas competitors. This would help us to measure our performance and indicate where we need to improve.

Business-university engagement is important. In the long run the UK must spend more and spend wisely if knowledge industries like the games industry are to compete successfully.


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