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Abolish Labour target of sending 50% to university

Comment 17th July 2010

My idea, in the interests of equality, social mobility and fairness, is to abolish the 50% target on the basis of allowing access to 100% of those that want it.

The goal is equality of access, not equality of outcome.

The outcome of students should be based or a normal/gaussian distribution and not based on the 50% target.

Why does this matter?

The idea is important because this week Vince Cable floated the idea of higher taxation to pay for free university education. This would seem like a blank cheque and a bail out of the elitist tertiary education system. However, an alternative way to look at the funding issue of universities is that this is a once in a generation chance to make the system more efficient and accessible and to finally address the issues of social mobility and meritocracy.

It does not seem correct to be paying taxes for tertiary education if the taxpayer does not then have open equal access to all courses at all institutions.

The consumer technology is readily available to efficiently allow open access to all courses.

The content for all courses of all universities should be available on-line much like computer software and music and video files are.

Students should only have to pay to participate in video conference tutorials, submit course work and take exams. There would be no course entrance requirements. Students would be able to take exams at certified centers such as other universities nearest to their town of residence thereby lowering their carbon footprint. 

Lab/practical work would continue to be residential but would only be undertaken once the student had passed a minimum number of theoretical on-line modules.

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