Letter: Game of monopoly (2)

May 25, 2001

The proposed merger between London Guildhall, North London and East London universities would mean lower-quality "higher education" for London's poorest students ("Giant London merger plan", THES , May 18). The raison d'etre of mergers, whether in the public or private sector, is to cut.

The three universities are already among the worst in the country in terms of efficiency, facilities, teaching and research, and are bottom of the league in the crucial student:staff ratio. Comparing them in your league tables ( THES , May 18), London Guildhall University fares worst. This is the result of more than a decade of acquiring buildings but closing departments, axeing posts and narrowing the academic footprint. In other words, of preparing itself for takeover with funding council blessing.

A merger would be a step towards a second division of mass higher education. Mergers necessarily reduce resources. The three vice-chancellors should reject merger, defend their mission statements and insist on restoring funding to levels to meet the needs of their students.

Geraldine Thorpe
Patrick Brady
Senior lecturers
London Guildhall University

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