Progress in flexibility 2

October 17, 2003

Ian Gibson ("Read our lips: top-up fees simply won't work", THES , October 10) complained about the lack of discussion about top-up fees at the Labour Party conference. Yet his article digressed in so many directions that it was difficult to find any detailed arguments that supported the conclusion in the headline.

The future funding of UK universities desperately deserves serious debate. We need to consider, and attempt to reconcile, the objectives of the various stakeholders. We also need to consider the balance between expansion and equality, and to identify and explore funding options.

We must recognise that it is extremely unlikely that we will find any perfect answers. All we can, hope for are policies that help us move in a sensible direction in the long term. This needs a professional approach to the discussion about the issues, which would, hopefully, involve less political rhetoric and irrelevant digressions from politicians of all parties.

Bruce Lloyd
Professor of strategic management
London South Bank University

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