Help yourself

April 1, 2005

Alison Wolf asks: "Now, could someone address the shortage of science and modern language students?" (Opinion, March 18). Yes - you, the universities, could. Help make the GCSE and A-level courses more interesting, and make it clear that you value breadth of A and AS-level choice.

Science (and maths) courses at GCSE are boring and irrelevant.

They communicate neither science's joy nor its relevance to daily life.

And it's a widespread belief that you value a set of A levels that are closely related to the proposed degree at least as highly as a more diverse one (which will require considerably more work to do well in), so degree choices get narrowed when A-level choices are made.

It would not hurt if you moved towards the US liberal arts model for at least some of your degrees - many more might choose sciences and languages as majors if they had a chance to sample them at university level first.

Ralph Lucas
Editor, The Good Schools Guide

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