Letters Extra: Top-up fees don't reflect well on society

29th November 2002 at 00:00

As a sixth form tutor in a state comprehensive school, I expend considerable time and energy supporting my students in their search for universities and courses which are best suited to their abilities and personalities.

For some that will mean science at Oxbridge and for others a much more economical course at a less prestigious university which is nevertheless the best option for that student.

The government would have us believe that these choices are made because of their pecuniary advantage: what then is the argument against increasing the higher rates of tax to find the increased funding our universities undoubtedly need?

In a civilised society a university education would be available to those who can fully benefit from it (accruing responsibilities to weigh against that privilege) and society as a whole would benefit.

Under the given proposals we shall see massive socio-economic skewing of universities, means-testing or not, and a severe dilution in entry to less well-paid careers. Are these the values of a well-educated and caring society?

Jenefer Golding MA, MSc

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