Readers' reactions

December 10, 1999

...Philip Stott argued that rainforests are not essential to our survival on this planet

Helen Woodward Sudent at the Open University

Even if Philip Stott is partially right in saying we do not directly need rainforests, consider this: we do not need tigers or pandas either. The main aim of preserving rainforests is to preserve an endangered habitat that is home to millions of species. Just about every academic agrees that biodiversity is healthy and enriching. I wonder if Stott disagrees with this tenet of environmentalism also?

Previously in The THES... ...David Blunkett explained why he wants more inner-city youngsters to go to our top universities

John Berkeley Rover senior fellow, University of Warwick Project director, young people development policy for BMW Group's UK operations

If David Blunkett is really serious about broadening the social mix of people entering university, the solution is very simple.

We need a work-based "gold standard", a new framework of apprenticeships that, far from being seen as a third-class route of last resort, is designed to promote progression to higher education.

A new generation of degree programmes, predominantly work-based, linked to occupational standards and designed to be integrated with the development of workplace skills, would be needed to provide the HE component of such apprenticeships.

Work-based learning will never be considered as important as academic learning unless it can offer the same opportunities for progression.

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