I'm very fond of reading the books of Bill Bryson and lately have been enjoying his most recent offering, The Road to Little Dribbling, which describes a sort of tour round certain places in the UK. As an alumnus of Durham University I'm well aware that Bill Bryson was once chancellor there and that he is immensely fond of the city. He returns to visit Durham for this book and, in discussing his involvement with the university, he introduces some statistics to compare higher education in the UK to that in the US, specifically in terms of funding. He also provides figures to show how UK HE punches well above its weight on the global stage, although I have no idea how valid those figures are. What moved me greatly though is his comment on p357:
'I doubt very much if there is any other realm of human endeavour in the country (UK) that produces more world-class benefit with less financial input than higher education. It is possibly the single most outstanding thing in Britain today.'
That glowing statement stands as testament to the effort and commitment of all who work in higher education in the UK, and I for one feel very proud and privileged to be a part of it.