There is, of course, "a hidden profit motive" which encourages universities to "recruit as many students as possible paying top whack", as your editorial states (The market in higher education: not just about vice-chancellors` pay, 08/12/17). "Driving up quality through the power of student choice" is, indeed, an unlikely result of the "marketising" of higher education, and it is made even more implausible by two recent additions to the equation. The first is that many universities are attempting to make themselves look more attractive to potential undergraduates by making them unconditional offers, something which will undoubtedly cause despair to their over-stressed teachers, keen to maximise their potential.
The second is the revelations recently made, after the summer cheating scandal, about Pre-U examinations, which many public schools now prefer to A-levels in many subjects for their sixth formers. No wonder, when we learn that many of these examinations are set by teachers in the private sector; the head of Eton recently reported to the Commons` select committee on education that seven of this year`s examinations were set by members of his staff. Ally this to the fact that these examinations are not overseen by the Joint Council for Qualifications as A-levels are, and we have a situation where standards might well be being driven down, and for this, universities and government policy must share responsibility.