Oxford admissions fear

May 14, 2004

Proposals from Steven Schwartz's task force on university admissions could lead to "coercive managerialism" that would undermine academic excellence by imposing uniformity, according to Anthony Smith, master of Magdalen College, Oxford.

Speaking this week at an independent schools' conference at Brighton College, Mr Smith, the don at the centre of the controversy over Laura Spence's rejection by Magdalen, said he feared that measures designed to widen participation could turn higher education into a "branch of the welfare state".

Professor Schwartz, who spoke in the same session, said universities could not be compelled to adopt his proposals and that Mr Smith's fears were exaggerated.

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