Out of step

November 5, 1999

All indicators are that higher education is changing: numbers of part-time and mature students are growing all the time. Boundaries between higher and further education are getting smaller, with each offering courses traditionally provided by the other. There is also an aim in many parts for inclusivity and the widening of numbers from non-traditional groups. These are trends that seem likely to continue, possibly increase.

So it was with considerable amazement that I heard recently that the Inter-Varsity Dance Association, the primary body for student ballroom dance competitions, has apparently decided to exclude part-time students and those in further education colleges from participation in its competitions.

The reasons for this decision are unclear to me. But whatever the reasons, it remains a curious and unfortunate decision, one that can only be regarded as counter to trends in British higher education.

Magnus Ramage

Computer science department

Durham University

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