Letter: There's No Equality in Two-Tier Higher Education

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Sir, - I am writing with reference to Her Majesty's Government's latest endeavour to ensure that the system of student finance is brought into disrepute. Top-up fees are the most recent attempt by this Labour Government to create a two-tier higher education system, directly undermining New Labour's Third Way commitment to equality of opportunity.

It is apparent that rather than stimulating growth in an attempt to reach the Government's target of 50 per cent of all students progressing to higher education, this move increases the adversity faced by students and parents, with the prospect of mounting debts in excess of pounds 20,000 to gain a degree qualification.

Significantly, the move hits hardest students from lower income backgrounds, further illustrating the contradiction with Labour's traditional ideology.

It is also questionable as to whether the Government's target of 50 per cent of students progressing to higher education is attainable or desirable. To produce an efficient and educated workforce, our economy requires not only specialist academics, but vocational professionals as well. …