Ivy view is incomplete

December 3, 2009

In "The American lesson: How to be top" (26 November), Terence Kealey suggests that UK universities should emulate the American Ivy League by detaching themselves from state support, as if the problem were excessive regulation rather than excessive privatisation.

Reading the article, one would never know that the Ivy League is not representative of US higher education as a whole; that it receives (and relies on) enormous federal and state support (not only for research, but also for student aid and via tax breaks for institutions and their donors); and that the most successful systems internationally are in the Nordic countries, thanks to public funding.

Whereas the US produces one top 500 university for every 1.9 million people, Sweden does so for every 822,000. What about giving us the whole picture, Terence?

Roger Brown, Professor of higher education policy, Liverpool Hope University.

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