Loss of learning

November 9, 2006

There are several flaws in Dimitra Koutsantoni's letter (November 2). First, I am not an academic in a secure job - I have had part-time, fixed-term jobs since being made redundant. Second, I do think the purpose of universities is to increase employability. But, it would be an impoverished provision where training for jobs was the sole purpose.

I do not defend the Greek or French systems, although the former is bad mainly because of excessive state control and underfunding. Neither do I defend professorial power in Italy nor the overtheoretical German universities.

My concern was to identify the risk of the loss of essential elements of a university experience in England, with the detrimental long-term consequences; to act, to a small extent, as a conscience and critic, the need for which is underlined by the Minister for Higher Education's knee-jerk rejection of rather than reflection on the evidence presented.

Ian McNay
Greenwich University

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