One rule for the old and another for the new

June 7, 1996

There is one aspect of the Harris review of postgraduate work (THES, May 17) that seems to have gone almost unnoticed: the proposal to "freeze" the proportion of taught postgraduate students at institutional level.

Of course for those universities that already have 30, 40, or even 50 per cent postgraduate work, there really is no problem. But what about the post-1992 universities which have a few years of catching up to do? Would there not have been an outcry in the 1960s and 1970s if the then "new" universities were told they could not develop taught postgraduate courses?

For the report to suggest the option of cross-subsidy from undergraduate funding is insulting: the universities that are most affected are generally the very ones which are the most critically underfunded. And as for the alternative of charging enhanced fees, I can only comment in the vernacular - get real! It is outrageous that a report from a so-called unified sector of higher education should seek to be so divisive.

Michael Goldstein Vice chancellor, Coventry University

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