LETTER:Oxford vs 'Disneyland' - the spires aren't always inspiring

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The Independent Online
From Mr David Marley

Sir: Niall Ferguson's self-confessed conservative educational ideals seem to have led to a lack of desire to question conventionality in universities; a fault surely unacceptable from academics, especially self-styled superior ones from hallowed Oxbridge.

Government funding for the rapidly increasing higher education system has been appalling, and this is felt particularly strongly in many new universities, where there is a desperate lack of facilities in many departments. This has resulted in a frustrated staff and student body forced to get by with poorly stocked libraries and increasing staff/student ratios. These are serious problems worthy of serious consideration and should not be ridiculed by calling new universities "Disneyland" institutions offering "Mickey Mouse degrees".

And is it so unreasonable that students, with their increasing financial contribution to their education, should demand courses that interest them? Is not media studies a form of textual analysis, like many other traditional degrees? And how much does Mr Ferguson know about the subject anyway? I can only assume very little, by his belief that he would be qualified to teach it by writing a newspaper column.

Yours faithfully,

David Marley

Stevenage, Hertfordshire

2 January

The writer is a De Montfort University media studies student.