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Admissions based on arrogance

Frank Newhofer 82 Southmoor Rd, Oxford

You are right to recognise that the decision of Ucas to award a level 3 (A-level equivalent) NVQ with 160 points is a "challenge to academic snobbery" (FE Focus, March 9). But the real problem with our HE admissions system lies deeper.

Many universities bask in an arrogance that stems from their elite status and lack the transparency and equal opportunity that would benefit them and the nation.

These universities don't even use the Ucas tariff system as their main tool, and there is little evidence of the consistency in standards and approach needed for applicants to have their full potential recognised.

A-level points are used as a lazy shorthand for demand-led courses.

Certification such as ASDAN's Certificate of Personal Effectiveness, which has 70 Ucas points ascribed at level 3, is ignored. Like many NVQs, Cope is a testament to the kind of problem solving and communication skills that 18-year-olds need to make a success of higher education. It is sad so many of our universities believe they have the right to exercise outmoded prejudices that reflect a "gold standard" belonging to a medieval world of alchemy rather than a present that needs to be full of dynamic, lifelong learners.

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