Letter: Justifiable exclusion

October 26, 2001

Auriol Stevens's assessment of higher education and the supposed gains made over the past 30 years ("A challenge for the next 30 yearsI", THES, October 19) was insulting. It trades on the view that more is better. What possible justification can there be for extending higher education to 100 per cent of the population unless it is to sell more copies of The THES?

Contrary to her assessment, excluding half the population is entirely justified. Does she really believe that those with sub-average IQs (half the population) should be admitted to higher education? We are already suffering from the requirement to carry out remedial teaching at this and other colleges.

The one point in the article on which I can agree is the necessity of advanced teaching and research to the economy and individual prosperity - although if all are admitted to higher education, what can constitute advanced teaching? Teaching in which 75 per cent of students fail the course?

Please take this as confirmation that I wish to cancel my subscription.

David McAlpine

Department of physiology

University College London

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