Skills should be a byproduct of study

February 9, 1996

Your editorial "Demanding and confused" (THES, February 2) implies that universities face a choice between delivering the curriculum or encouraging their students to acquire skills employers seek. The whole point of the Enterprise in Higher Education initiative, which our report Skills for Graduates in the 21st Century emphasises, is that teaching in universities should be delivered so that skills are developed as a natural byproduct. There is much good practice of this sort but more needs to be done.

The self-reliance skills we encourage are not for employers alone. They are of value in all walks of life, not least the rest of the time at university where increased student/staff ratios must enhance their importance. This is not a case of employers shirking their responsibilities or not wanting to "foot the bill". It is part of our contribution to the debate on the purpose of higher education.

Roly Cockman Executive secretary Association of Graduate Recruiters

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