Letter: Jobs eat into study time

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Sir: A report by the Policy Studies Institute claims that university students are now better off than they were before loans were introduced (report, 22 November). The extra income comes from a mixture of loans and earnings made both during the vacations and part-time during term time.

Today I had a visit from a student whom I had asked to explain his non- attendance at tutorials. His reason was that he had a job. My experience as a tutor in a department which teaches over a thousand students each year is that this sort of situation is far from unusual.

Such a rise in income is to no avail if students' academic performance suffers. The Policy Studies Institute appears to know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

This country used to have a university system widely held to be one of the finest in the world. Continual reduction in the resources devoted to it in real terms (the amount allocated per student) is undermining this position. To pretend that everything in the academic garden is rosy because by working several nights a week in a pub students can still afford their rent and have a little left over for leisure, is to mislead the public and damage not just the university system but the country as a whole.


Department of Philosophy

University of Leeds