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The pay is academic

I read with interest the article entitled "The pay's academic" (Education+, 19 June).

As a scientist leading a large and successful research group in Oxford, I noticed last year that my own salary was less than those paid to two of my group, due to our respective ages. This seemed an anomaly worth addressing, and I raised it with the appropriate individuals. It was eventually agreed that I should be officially promoted to a more relevant scale, but that there were insufficient funds actually to increase my salary.

It occurred to me that, out of the pounds 3.5m or so research funding which I have brought into the university during the past three years, I might be able to award myself an annual increase of pounds 1,500. This was deemed highly inappropriate.

The pay is indeed academic.

Dr Roland Z Kozlowski

Brasenose College

Oxford

A millennium gift for schools?

The article "Our own 'Bac", (Education+, 26 June) by Diana Hinds refers to the Higginson report on A-levels, but makes no mention of its Scottish counterpart, the Howie Report, which followed it in the early Nineties. Both of these criticised the narrowness of existing examinations, both favoured a wider approach and both were rejected by the last government. In Scotland the recommendation was for a "Scottish Baccalaureate", which was rejected not because it was thought to be wrong in principle, but largely because teachers felt that it could not be implemented without the additional resources that the Government would not provide. Our school leavers are therefore left with a compromise which has many faults. Surely it would be a fitting and lasting millennium project thoroughly to update our senior school years throughout Britain, rather than erect short-term, gimmicky structures in the London area.

John F Woodward

Killearn, Stirlingshire

Students should not have to pay

Any proposal for the Government to solve the universities' funding crisis by making individual students pay for maintenance and tuition fees will run into opposition not just from students, but also from millions of parents.

The argument that, as the beneficiaries of higher education, students should pay is fundamentally flawed in three respects.

First, no modern economy can compete without an efficient mass system of high education. As the whole of society benefits, the funds should be raised through individual and corporate taxation proportionate to income and wealth.

Second, as Andrew Dilnot recently pointed out, the same argument - that the beneficiaries should pay - could be applied to every level of education, to health care and to other social services. That would eliminate the welfare state, and instead financial status would determine the quality of education and health care available.

Third, the Australian experience shows that once fees are introduced there is inexorable pressure to charge higher fees for the elite institutions and courses, such as medicine - restricting access on the basis of ability to pay as opposed to academic criteria.

The Government should tap the corporate sector and the wealthiest 20 per cent of society who prospered under 18 years of Conservative rule, to raise the funds to modernise the university system. To do otherwise could lose Tony Blair the support of precisely that section of the electorate that will decide whether he goes on to win a second term.

Adam Matthews, president, Sheffield University Students Union; and representatives of the University of East London, Sheffield University, Goldsmiths College, Bradford College and City of Westminster College.

Real Solutions: The Coalition for State Funded Education, c/o Sheffield University Students Union, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10.

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