Messages from the Dearing debate

October 3, 1997

The letter from John Beckett (September 26) commenting on the article which included my remarks on higher education as a useful screening process for employers was headed "All his own words". I now have to admit that the words were a paraphrase of the Dearing report on this subject. Annex 1 to Reports 12-14 (page 101) draws a conclusion that employers should favour the sharper screening that occurs when students pay more towards their higher education.

Neither the report nor I consider that there is any correlation between level of ability and ability to pay but we do consider that fees might well direct low academic ability students, who are unlikely to succeed at university, into more appropriate education.

Roly Cockman Chief executive, Association of Graduate Recruiters

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