Simply pick the best

January 5, 2012

Ken Smith's recent letter regarding the percentage of students from state and independent schools going to Oxbridge is a direct plea for a quota system ("Super-selection only perpetuates privilege", 22/29 December).

One might question whether it is a reasonable primary aim to increase the proportion of children from state schools getting into Oxbridge. The more legitimate goal is just to select the most intellectually able people. Its probable secondary consequence would be to increase the proportion of state-educated students. Furthermore, to penalise children from independent schools with the imposition of a quota system for a decision their parents made seems harsh.

While completely fair access to the best universities must be our goal, no system will ever be perfect. To evaluate each applicant as an individual would seem the most reasonable approach - hence the value of face-to-face interviews by skilled academics blind to the schools from whence applicants came.

George Fieldman, London

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