Clause 30 - General duties of relevant authority

Part of Higher Education Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 4th March 2004.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Shadow Minister (Education) 9:30 am, 4th March 2004

I understand that the hon. Gentleman thinks that there is a difference between the two, but I do not agree. At the moment, 90 per cent. of young people who get two A-levels go to university. I asked the Minister in a written question what happened to the other 10 per cent. and he said that many of them went into the job market by choice, and some went off and did other things. In an

interesting and enlightening comment, he also said that some were put off by the cost of going to university. How top-up fees will affect that proportion I have no idea—well, I do have some idea.

The reality is that, to all intents and purposes, virtually all people who get two A-levels already go to university. So if the net is going to widen, inevitably, what the Government are asking the universities to do, through the regulator, is to start taking people who do not have A-level passes—there is no one else to take. To my mind, I am afraid, that is saying to universities, ''You have to change the criteria for admission to your universities.'' That is inescapable.