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Too many students?

In 15 years Britain has acquired a mass university system. But this has not made us more equal

By Alison Wolf   July 2002

In 15 years Britain has acquired a full-blown system of mass higher education. There are now twice as many 25 year olds with degrees as there were 18 year olds with A Levels in 1965. Over 40 per cent of 18 year olds are set to enter higher education and the government’s target is for 50 per cent to do so by 2010.

This should make many people happy. British education has for years been haunted by stories about our backwardness. But in higher education we have now closed the gap with Japan in enrolment and graduation rates; we have…

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