Facing the F-word

November 26, 2004

Congratulations on at last mentioning the F-word ("Top-up failures could go broke", November 19). As Roger Brown notes in the latest Higher Education Review , as many as half the present university institutions in England and Wales could close or merge as a result of fee rises.

Meanwhile, the so-called academic community shares the collective delusion that their predominantly teaching universities and colleges can all join the research elite.

What is more likely to happen is that those that survive will predictably fall into the mass of training universities and colleges relegated to further education status through delivering competence-based foundation "degrees" at the behest of employers and the sector skills councils.

Patrick Ainley
Greenwich University

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