Civic pride versus damned statistics 1

March 13, 2008

I read the Halifax-Times Higher Education quality-of-life index ("Where the grass is greener", 6 March) with interest and amusement. As the adage goes, there are lies, damned lies and statistics ...

While "extracurricular factors" are important, the measurements used to create these rankings appear at best crude and subjective.

Manchester is one of the UK's most popular student cities and is similarly attractive as a place to work. With a fast-growing economy, thriving cultural and sporting heritage and a vibrant and cosmopolitan social scene, there's no doubt that it's a great city. Manchester provides the best of both worlds: a bustling 24-hour city within very easy reach of some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK.

Most league tables are questionable, some are confusing, but this one is truly in a league of its own. Thankfully our students and staff see far beyond the arbitrary set of definitions, measures and geographic boundaries used to formulate this meaningless set of data.

John Brooks, Vice-chancellor Manchester Metropolitan University.

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