Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Zero-Sum Game

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Zero-Sum Game

Article excerpt

Congratulations to John Gill for highlighting one of the major implications of current higher education policy ("All for one, or none for all?", Leader, 3 May). The sector is looking and being treated less and less like a single entity: indeed, it is being divided and atomised.

That view is reinforced by your news coverage ("Marginal incentive: coalition 'blinks first in game of chicken'", 3 May). What the mission groups that "welcomed" the announcement about the extension of the AAB policy do not seem to appreciate is that the game they are playing is largely zero-sum. Almost all AAB and ABB students already go to university - and generally to a small group of institutions - so this is not a policy that will increase choice, but one that will lead to increasingly frantic competition between a small number of universities.

What the coalition cannot do because of financial constraints is truly increase choice by removing quotas. Quotas will continue to exist, and to the extent that they may be eased in one part of the student market, they will have to be tightened in another. …

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