Sir: I am particularly troubled by one aspect of the Dearing report and the end of free university education, and that is its impact on women. It is difficult enough for women to return to full-time work after bringing up children, as I eventually did, but had I known that I would have been additionally faced with a hefty bill for a long-term debt on my return, I might well not have persevered - or even embarked on a university education - with this prospect ahead.
Moreover, parents may well revert to previous form and put their sons' education before their daughters' if unable to pay for both. One of the great achievements of the system of the last decades has been to equalise the number of female and male graduates - a historical feat which must not be allowed to go into reverse.
Reader in Renaissance Studies
Department of History
University of LondonReuse content