Gatekeepers to the middle class

October 20, 2000

Claire Sanders reports that "many vice-chancellors maintain that Britain can sustain only two world-class universities". Who, which and why?

To hazard a guess that "world class" means big and good, one must surely be the University of London - with gems such as Imperial, University College London and the London School of Economics - while the other, for the time being, is, presumably, Cambridge. Splendid though both are, it seems remarkably blinkered of "many" vice-chancellors to write off the possibility of other British universities being "world class". I have no difficulty in arguing this status for my own institution, and, from the article, it appears that Oxford is not far off either.

John Robinson
Department of electronics
University of York

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