Those who can, do...


...Those who can't, teach.

Sir Roderick Floud, former vice-president of the European University Association, said the UK was a clear market leader in higher education in Europe, which by 2010 would offer a potential market of one billion people as a result of the Bologna Agreement, designed to unify higher education systems across the continent.

"I find it completely extraordinary and short-sighted that British universities are so well represented in recruitment terms in south Asia and the Far East, and so badly represented in the rest of Europe," Floud told the Guardian's Higher Education summit in London.

As Sir Roderick recently (March 2006) retired as President of London Metropolitan University, his surprise is. umm, surprising. The reason universities try to recruit overseas students is because they can charge them lots of money for attending their elite insitutions. Domestically sourced students have their charges capped...and one part of the delights of the European Union is that students from other parts of the EU are to be treated as domesticaly sourced. Thus they can only be charged the (c.) £3,100 a year that a Brit would pay while someone from South Asia or the Far East might pay £11,000 or so.

These fees from overseas students have in fact been the lifeblood of the entire sector for some years now: possibly a third of the entire fee income of the whole higher education sector. This isn't extraordinary nor is it short-sighted: it's simple economic rationality.

A market of one billion people in a population of just under 500 million also looks a bit of a stretch.

So does the phrase finish with "those who can't teach, administrate"?