No leisurely learning

March 19, 1999

In your account ("Intellectuals fight 'dumbing down'", THES, March 12) of the Culture Wars Conference, I am reported as saying that "students had been turned into clients and education into a leisure activity".

Unless this is an ironic reference to my being on study leave this semester, it gives the preposterous impression that students experience their time at university as a "leisure activity".

What I said, on the contrary, was that institutions of education are rapidly becoming institutions of vocational training and that education is becoming increasingly a function of the leisure industry. Universities must retain their educational purposes.

Stephen Rowland Director Higher Education Research Centre Sheffield University

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