Lots of fringe meetings going on in Brighton this week, one of which hosted the claim that 50% of students entering university is not enough. Watching (or hearing of) many of the shenanigans going on at Sussex Uni at the present time, this comes across as particularly amusing,
Targets are targets, and seem to actually be a very bad way of measuring anything. In this particular instance, quantity in no way implies quality - the latter of which is surely what we need for industrial competition and the rest. As it is, the calls to squeeze more students into lecture halls often fail to take into account the increase in infrastructure needed to do them justice. Changes in funding and bad accounting (ahum) mean that it can be difficult for Unis to scale well, leaving a whole load of new students not being very well supported.
Of course, doing things by the numbers merely hides this fact. A judgement based on proximity to the target will give us a false sense of competition and success, and guess who'll be paying for it in the long run? Yup, the students who have paid all that money to study, and still can't get a job.