Leading Article: Oxbridge rules

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We should not be surprised that Oxford and Cambridge universities are so superior when compared to all others, including the highly-rated LSE, Imperial and UCL.

This is the conclusion of a report published today by the think-tank, the Higher Education Policy Institute, which finds that Oxbridge is unmatched when it comes to the ability of its students and the achievement of its graduates.It clearly produces many of the leaders in society as evidenced by the number of graduates in Who's Who and the number of professors who have been to Oxbridge. We should not be surprised because the universities have a significantly higher income than other institutions.

There is, however, some evidence that the ancient universities admit more independent pupils than is warranted. Given this, HEPI calls for Oxford and Cambridge to take a leaf out of the book of American universities such as Harvard and Princeton and make a conscious policy decision to seek out the best social and ethnic mix they can. The fact that so many of its graduates take on leadership positions means that it is already in the business of social engineering. It should accept this fact and try to do good with it.