University challenge

February 8, 2002

Private tutor Mike Stein has written to education secretary Estelle Morris warning her that he intends to commit an act of civil disobedience after his complaint that British higher education breaches the 1998 Competition Act was rejected.

Mr Stein says that British universities are operating a cartel by refusing to assess candidates for degrees unless those candidates have previously enrolled as students and bought tuition services from the awarding body. In the United States, he says, candidates are entitled to obtain university qualifications by taking "challenge" examinations without having to follow a course first.

With ten years' experience as a tutor and having written several books, Mr Stein wishes to submit his work to obtain qualifications befitting his experience, research and skills.

He has told Ms Morris that he intends to commit a minor offence and refuse to pay any fine imposed. The moral basis of his case will, sooner or later, be recognised, he believes. He plans to use any time spent in jail to undertake a PhD.

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