Misplaced puritanism 1

October 15, 2009

Claire Fox appears to suggest that the pursuit of relevance in terms of social and economic issues leads inevitably to the "dumbing down" of higher education ("Academy strikes back: the fight for 'useless' knowledge starts here", 1 October).

Every higher education experience should be intrinsically worthwhile, but there is a proud tradition that suggests that rigour and relevance are far from being mutually exclusive - and indeed, that the demands of true relevance can assist in the promotion of rigour. We should be defending standards in higher education, not some spurious notion of academic purity.

John Bale, Leeds.

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