Graduate tax is anti-youth

19th September 2003 at 01:00
Did Peter Wilby have free higher education and a decent grant? If so, why does he begrudge today's students them ("Just an old-fashioned tax on privilege", TES September 5)? Because I did and I do not.

On the contrary, I would restore student grants, living standards and numbers to 1979 levels and pay for it by cutting our contributions to the European Union.

I believe that higher education should be reserved for the academic minority and that paper qualifications are overrated.

The Government's support for higher tuition fees does not surprise me, given its anti-youth policies in general. It supports homework from the beginning, uniforms, petty rules and over-testing.

Also, what should be the carefree years of adolescence have been ruined by the non-stop pressure of GCSEs, AS-levels, and modular A-levels. To top it all, there is the prospect of finishing your education thousands of pounds in debt.

Were I a teenager today, I would leave school as soon as I could and not even think of higher education. Why can't the Government do something for the young rather than to them?

Mark Taha 93 Venner Road Sydenham, London SE26

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