Master the bottleneck

November 10, 2011

David Blanchflower, former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, is partly right in saying that 100,000 extra university places should be created next year to address rising unemployment ("No jobs, so get them on courses", 3 November).

However, these places should be created for master's not undergraduate courses. Resources should also be allocated to related professional training.

Decision-makers should take account of the evidence. Specifically, they should realise what the increasing wage differential between undergraduate and postgraduate degrees implies for the economic benefits of higher education ("In pay terms, master's are real commanders", 3 November).

There are too many university subjects that have expanded to meet applicant demand but for which there are few opportunities to enter relevant professions, despite great need for the services concerned (psychology, in which I have more than one degree, is a notable but by no means unique example).

This scandalous bottleneck in the provision of postgraduate education and professional training has been allowed to persist for many years. It must be addressed if the UK is to find the means of achieving future economic growth.

Frederic Stansfield, Canterbury

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