The End of the Old Order
The traditionalist consensus on higher education, defined by a laissez faire government philosophy and profound cultural conservatism, proved increasingly unsustainable in the face of demographic demands and a more vocal public sphere. Politicians and senior officials in the early post war period were more open than their predecessors to taking incremental initiatives oriented primarily towards university institutions, but were hesitant in developing coherent longer term policies. Government initiatives usually responded to a particular crisis in finances, staffing or professional recognition of courses. Growing societal demand for higher education, combined with the impact of political and administrative neglect over the previous generation, forced a gradual re-appraisal of traditional understandings of higher education, although this was both piecemeal and incomplete during the 1950s.