Letter: Nation poorer with student fees

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Sir: David Walker argues that "students must pay for their privileges" (12 December) by paying fees for higher education.

Graduates who go on to earn higher incomes will contribute more to the educational budget in higher taxation; there is no need in addition to burden young people just starting out on their careers with crippling loans.

It is important that a proportion of high-quality graduates should go into less well paid, vocational public sector jobs such as nursing, teaching or local government.

Not all students should be forced to pursue degrees such as medicine, law or engineering which lead directly to specified employment.

Finally, students from poorer backgrounds will think twice before applying to higher education.

The effect of his proposals will be to produce a workforce of trained (rather than educated) middle-class automatons, whose only interest is to seek a job in the financial sector in order to repay their debts, and the country will be the poorer for it. Tax, when used to provide equitable access to education based on merit alone, universal health care or affordable public transport is not an evil but a good and noble thing. This seems to be an unutterable truth at present.

Dr DAVID OLIVER

Sevenoaks, Kent

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