Why a liberal education is better

In "The tale of an educational nonsense" (NS supplement, 13 November), Alan Smithers quotes Professor John Pratt of the Centre for Institutional Studies, who argues that the development of the education of working people has been blighted "by the social presumption of the superiority of liberal education and a distaste for manual labour, industry and trade".

Does it not occur to these learned academics that a distaste for manual labour is what motivates many adult students from disadvantaged and working-class backgrounds to take up further and higher education courses? If any of these academics did a vocational course which prepared workers for industry, they would soon learn why a liberal education is superior.

Peter J Brown
Middlesbrough, Cleveland

This article first appeared in the 27 November 1998 issue of the New Statesman, How the left hijacked the family