Cut but not dried

April 26, 1996

May I appeal for clarity over the term "efficiency"? In one short article (THES, April 19) we have "efficiency gains", "efficiency squeezes" and "efficiency cuts". These terms appear to be used interchangeably, even though the last two might seem to imply a loss, rather than a gain, of efficiency.

I have recently corresponded with the Department for Education and Employment over what they think "efficiency gains" are. Although keen on the term, they seem unable to suggest ways in which the efficiency of universities could be improved.

Perhaps we could all restrict the use of the term "efficiency" to occasions when it has a detectable meaning.

Julian Goodare Department of history University of Sheffield

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