We are now seeing more of the impact of the manipulative merging of the Departments of Education and Employment which I commented on in your letters section last year. The DFEE's evidence to Sir Ron Dearing's committee of inquiry on the future of higher education has signalled that it is not acceptable to educate students at university if they only obtain low-status jobs.
At one time, education was seen as an end in itself. Now, ironically, politicians of most colours would have us believe that what is good for the economy is the principal, perhaps the only, justification for having any education at all.
It is the problems with the economy which prompt a review of that attitude. Few parents can see how our children will sustain full-time employment. They are likely to start work later, to have more breaks in their careers and probably end work sooner than the generation that precedes them. So they are going to need more to fall back on - interests and a well stocked philosophy of life. That is what education, above all university education, would give them.
The DFEE evidence is another indication of the short-termist, materialist focus of the current politics of education.
JOHN COCKSHOTT (Upper school governor) 41 Grove Road Ilkley, West Yorkshire