Culture, tradition and values in education

Eddie Playfair

Eric Robinson, who died in 2011, was an outstanding and progressive college principal and polytechnic director. He was appointed deputy director of North East London Polytechnic (now the University of East London) in 1970, led Bradford College from 1973 to 1982, and then Preston Poly, later Lancashire Poly which subsequently went on to become the University of Central Lancashire. Eric worked to create a comprehensive form of higher education; a “people’s university” which could contribute to the education of all and which saw people both as workers and as citizens of a democratic society with a right to share the best of human values and culture.

Eric gave an excellent Caroline Benn memorial lecture in 2009. His critique of economic instrumentalism, the commodification of education and the promotion of institutional choice and diversity was spot on. He eloquently reminded us that markets and privatisation cannot deliver high quality education for all…

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