Expansion rules OK

June 25, 2004

In the light of your editorial ("Seven-year test passed with ease", June 18), we should emphasise that we endorse university expansion; there are many well-documented social benefits to mass higher education.

Our research is motivated by a concern with the underperformance of the British economy, especially in the utilisation of skill.

The issue of productivity has been long-standing in this country, hence our research into the demand for graduates. It is a remarkable feature of the debate on mass higher education and top-up fees that the question of economic performance has not been addressed. Rather, it remains a given that if the economy cannot fully utilise graduate skills, then the problem lies with the education policy. What we are arguing for is a systematic debate and review of the evidence.

We need to move on from the kneejerk reaction that any questioning of the demand for graduate labour is a betrayal of the commitment to further university expansion.

Phillip Brown
Cardiff University

Muriel Egerton
Essex University

Anthony Hesketh
Lancaster University

Hugh Lauder
Bath University

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