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Oxbridge versus truly open universities

by onkar

King's College, Cambridge, seen from the river

Selina Todd’s suggestion about abolishing university entry requirements and decreasing status distinctions between universities is excellent (Let’s turn Oxbridge into a comprehensive, 22 September). It would, among other things, help to free secondary schools from the stranglehold of examinations, as well as removing a main reason for parents choosing private education.

But why not go further? Why should universities have a higher status than further education colleges? Status apart, there is no distinguishing mark of a university that I can see that entitles it to be put in a special category. Instead of Selina Todd’s “comprehensive university”, why not think of a comprehensive system of full- and part-time post-school institutions of  all kinds, with easy passage from one to another and generous support in time and fee money for those who need this?
John White
Emeritus professor of philosophy of education, UCL

Robert Freedman

Three cheers for Selina Todd! Universities should expand their provision to meet demand. Restricting supply is no way forward – it just makes life easier for academics, creating a monopoly, more mercantilist than capitalist, that shouldn’t be tolerated in the modern world. Todd’s proposals would actually increase competition between institutions while reducing it among students, and I’m all for that.
Roy Boffy


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