Continuing standards

November 18, 2010

It is ridiculous to have 50 per cent of school-leavers going to university because it means that we get people with below-average aptitude, ability or intelligence doing degrees ("The academy's role in A-level 'devaluation'", 11 November). It further assumes that more than half the workforce need degrees to do their jobs, whereas in reality GCSEs or A levels and three years' work experience would be better.

France has a better idea. With similarly high participation rates, it accepts that less than half of students will continue into the second year of their subjects. Early leavers obtain lesser qualifications instead of "dropping out", allowing French universities to maintain degree standards while their British counterparts have had to drop theirs.

Hugh Fletcher, Belfast.

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