Letter: Spirit of '68 too far out for us

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article "Students abandon sex and drugs for mobile phones and laptops" (24 March) seemed surprised at the findings of the recent survey.

Oh, if only I could have gone to university in 1968! I should have loved to spend my grant (in line with the cost of living) on jolly nights in the Union bar, learning purely for the love of my subject, discussing how terrible Vietnam was and occupying the vice-chancellor's office over a rise in campus rent.

And the secure knowledge that my third-class degree, be it in fine art or engineering, would be enough to guarantee me an offer for every job which I applied to! In 1968 it was possible to use your four-year ticket to Bohemia to its fullest advantage.

Now The Independent proposes that "of course students should pay for their education" (leading article, 24 March).

This would "of course" lead to a massive debt after graduation. But graduation is not enough even to get you an interview for that well-paid job necessary to repay your loan. "A degree is not enough", as the mantra at the careers service goes.

I lament that this situation has arisen because of the ridiculous numbers pouring into tertiary education, placing an intolerable strain on teaching resources. I bristle at the "pay for it yourself" attitude of today's fiftysomethings. However I am eternally grateful to Glasgow University for the sense of privilege that I have after four years' learning there.