LETTER : Tutorial system at Oxbridge colleges

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The Independent Online
From Mr John Eekelaar

Sir: Generalisations about "Oxbridge" are dangerous. The Higher Education Funding Council for England's assessment of teaching in the Oxford Law Faculty praised the tradition of reading essays tutorials and writing detailed comments on them, and this practice seems widespread in other faculties.

The serious issue raised by the political parties' policies towards funding Oxford is that if publicly funded tuition fees were to be significantly reduced, to survive in their present form most Oxford colleges would need to be allowed to charge their students for tuition. This would, of course, aggravate the "inequities" that concern the Labour Party, though they might be diminished by a substantial programme of bursaries.

Some may consider that the collegiate system is not worth keeping, however it is paid for. But most of those who experience it, especially foreign students who compare it with other systems, see it as a unique asset and demonstrate overwhelming goodwill and generosity towards us. Do we want this or not?

Yours sincerely,

JOHN EEKELAAR

Vicegerent

Pembroke College

Oxford

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