British Prime Minister John Major says he regrets his indifference to school as a boy. But the man who finished high school by correspondence and never earned a university degree says academic credentials don't impress him.

"I know an awful lot of people who have an armful of academic qualifications and . . . they are wholly useless, most of them," Major said in a TV interview broadcast Monday.Major left school without taking many of the usual qualifying tests British schools require.

Despite his lack of a degree, he made a career in banking, was treasury chief at 46 and prime minister at 47, four months ago.

"I certainly was pretty idle at school," he said. "It was . . . extremely silly."