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Warwick Vice-Chancellor Backs Government Target To Get Half of Young People into University

Originally published 23 January 2002

A recent BBC poll showed that many Vice-Chancellors from research led universities have concerns about the Government target of getting half of all young people into university education by 2010 - but on BBC Radio 4's The Learning Curve last night (Tuesday 22nd January 2002) the University of Warwick's Vice-Chancellor Professor David VandeLinde came out in support of the Government target in an interview with Libby Purves and Government Higher Education minister Margaret Hodge. A transcript of that section of the interview now follows:

Libby Purves: "Finally, this government target of getting half of all young people into university education by 2010, do you support that target?"

Professor David VandeLinde: "I do."

Libby Purves: "And do you think it’s achievable? 9 out 10 Vice Chancellors in a recent poll thought that it wasn’t."

Professor David VandeLinde: "I think that it is going to be a difficult challenge, but I support the target even if government does not achieve it because I think we have to go forward. In the 21st century we have to make sure that all of the young people in the United Kingdom are given the chance and opportunity to maximise their capacity intellectually, to support themselves, and to be good citizens of the UK."

The interview went on to outline what the University of Warwick was doing to encourage more children from less privileged backgrounds to get a place at strong universities and the Vice-Chancellor outlined one of Warwick's key schemes to address this issue – AWARDS (an acronym for Access to a Warwick Degree Scheme). Where Warwick is working with 250 schools in the Midlands to identify talented children from less privileged backgrounds who after individual interview could be assisted in finding a place at Warwick through a low A level offer in recognition of their innate ability. Government higher Education Minster Margaret Hodge said that she welcomed this scheme.
The Learning Curve interview with the Vice-Chancellor and Minister will be repeated on Radio 4 on Sunday at 11pm.