Letter: Some paradoxes of participation 3

December 14, 2001

Tom Wilson balked at his own logic. Students choosing which university they attend will not be the issue if Estelle Morris allows the big pre-92 universities to crowd the new universities out of the market.

She will instead ensure that the government fails to achieve 50 per cent participation in higher education by 2010. To achieve that, some who would not get into any pre-92 university must enter.

Those students need universities to admit them, yet the survival of academic provision in the universities most likely to admit them is threatened by short-term ministerial policies.

Already students have been told indirectly not to go to university next year because financial disincentives will be removed the following year. If, in addition, the older universities are allowed to cast ever larger nets into this diminishing pool, this will force post-92 universities to shed capacity even more rapidly. Who then will offer places to the would-be students the government says it wishes to see included?

Roger Harris
Dean of students
Enfield campus Middlesex University

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