Letter: Face the facts

May 18, 2001

Reading your survey of academics' opinions is like opening a time capsule and suggests there is widespread reluctance to face up to the future ("Growth is blamed for fall in standards", THES , May 11). That is not getting us anywhere.

In the same issue, we find that since 1997 staff:student ratios have worsened from 16:1 to 17:1 and academic pay has fallen from 61 per cent of a doctor's pay to 57 per cent. We also discover major complaints about growing state bureaucracy in Britain's universities.

Rather than trying to return to the 1960s, which the taxpayer will never accept, it is more sensible to think back to your interview with the retiring head of Harvard: "Universities which rely on governments for their funding will face a comparatively bleak future" ("The 2.6 billion dollar man", THES, May 4). This man knows what he is talking about.

Andrew Oswald
Professor of economics
University of Warwick

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