Forth needs a bridge to the real world

March 22, 1996

Eric Forth (THES, March 22) is unfit to be a minister in an education department, for he shows himself to have not even a beginner's idea of what education is about. Inability to find books in the library is now an acceptable reason for not producing an essay. Competition for time at an inadequately-equipped laboratory bench prevents careful thinking about scientific procedures.

The bouncing-off of ideas among students in small groups within a framework structured by a tutor is no longer possible. All these result from shortage of funds. This is not to say the taxpayer must find the funds. That is no longer feasible. But denial that the shortage of funds affects the quality of higher education puts Mr Forth not just in an ivory tower but in a tower of remoteness from the real world all his own.

P. A. REYNOLDS Brighton (former vice chancellor, Lancaster University)

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