Marks and Spence

16th September 2005 at 01:00
Given the changing agenda in FE towards quantifiable courses, in particular Level 2 (GCSE-equivalent), it is particularly irritating as a lecturer of English to hear, once again, that, because the A level and GCSE pass rate increased again this year, this can only mean a further debasement of standards. It is equally frustrating to find that some of my pupils have been unable to find a university placement despite good results. Is this really the message that we want to be sending, namely that the qualification is worth less each year and that universities have not adequately expanded to cope with a growing demand for higher education?

* The countless pages and comment on this issue seemed to me to have missed a crucial point. Why not simply invest and expand university departments to cope with this new influx of high-achievers? Surely we should be celebrating the fact that, with expansion, 20 times as many students could study English at a top university.

We should build new universities. We have some of the finest architects in the world that would relish the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of post war architects such as Spence and Lasdun, creators of Sussex and East Anglia. Let us spare a thought too for all those teenagers who have spent the past two years hard at work only to find their achievements once again denigrated.

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