Edgukayshun

There’s a lot of noise about further education, its price and its value. Let’s not question the principle that studying a subject after school will be valuable, not as a substitute for eventual on-the-job training but as an intellectual challenge by way of preparation for work. Its price varies from country to country. Here in high-tax DK it’s free, as it was for Brits when I were a lad. Now in England somebody has to find £9k p.a. in fees (or thereabouts) and the cost of living on top. Loans, bursaries, etc. are available but it ain’t cheap for the average family to deal with.

But the meeja bang on about the demographic bias in universities – as if it’s a surprise. But have you looked at the mix in fee-paying schools? A lot of non-local children from the nations of the world.

So not surprisingly the top universities appear to be biassed towards the ‘home counties’. Sorry to say it but that’s because they and many of the top schools are there. Not all of course, before there’s an outbreak of under-collar heat! The brightest kids can be found everywhere but life is not an ‘equal opportunity’ experience.

Naturally, if you don’t believe in further education this whole issue is meaningless. But I do and it means  lot.

 

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  1. christinaosborne
    January 2, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    What you say is perfectly valid for a small percentage of the population. When we went to university only 5% or so of people did. The rot set in when they turned the old technical colleges into universities and ended up giving tertiary degree style education to nigh on 50% of the population. When we were there it was very unusual for people to drop out, a mere handful, nowadays some colleges take in 100% more freshers than they have available positions for in year two. They actually anticipate a wastage rate of 50%!

    The truth of the matter being that many of these people are not up to intellectual challenges, especially for their own sakes, what they need are practical skills with the accompanying theory to get good jobs for which they are well qualified. Diplomas, apprenticeships, day release and block release did the job excellently, so what did the govt do? Throw out a complete system that worked in favour of faux degrees that were of no bloody use to anyone! Media studies, (my arse!)= unemployment for 27,000 sterling in my book.

    Of course demographic bias comes into play. Assuming 27,000 course fees plus living expenses for three years is going to look like 50,000 debt when the graduate comes to fruition. Anyone who does a degree for its ‘intellectual exercise’ without being suitable mindful of a putative end salary is either a fool or the progeny of wealthy people who are able and willing to take up the slack. 50,000 debt means no home ownership for years and effective poverty for ten years during payback. I would advise anyone to think very carefully indeed before they took on such and unless they were top draw intellectually to give the whole thing a miss in favour of a technical career and qualification. Far to many people have been sold a pup on this one in my opinion.

    Not that I do not practise what I preach. The boy came to me and wanted to apply for a degree in Astrophysics, I looked into it and went berserk. Two vacancies a year in the UK! And the rest would be lucky to get a job teaching in a secondary school. I read the riot act big time, pointed out that I was a single mother and could not afford to repay debt for him and that he needed to take a degree that could actually make him a profit. Produced the Telegraph supplement with 8 pages of engineering jobs and pointed out the world was his oyster, 4 years uni, two years chartering and then serious money anywhere he chose in the world. Finally I refused to look after his goldfish if he did an unsuitable degree, that was the clincher!! He chose metallurgy at Swansea. The trouble is so very few families have the multi generational experience of university that they do not know how to give good advice and the career teachers are total drivel. so the kids go the ‘Bessarabian clog dancing’ route and the parents are so, so proud until the great crunch comes and they are living at home for ever and working in ASDA! I exaggerate, but not by much.

    Jason, you are an intellectual and obviously enjoyed learning, I think you make a mistake thinking that many people are like you. My life has had far more ups and downs and I have spent most of it working in a ludicrous cross section of society. Most people in my experience just want to earn a good living and are quite happy to do just that with or without the intellectual challenges. Some of the most successful people I know are near illiterate farmers who keep the odd quarter million in their chequing account “in case they need to write a cheque” and independent craftsmen working for themselves who went through apprenticeships. None of them would have benefited from an intellectual tertiary education, but it might have been an advantage had they learnt to write properly!

  2. January 2, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Jason? Que? It’s me, Christina, Janus, your old mate!! 🤓

    And no, I don’t think others are like me (or not). I agree that crap degrees should be banned and the worthy should get a chance to study.

    Higher education is neededthese days in many industries – from health to food. And whatever the meeja say, the competition is fierce at home and abroad.

  3. January 2, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    CO: I’ve recently been involved in crisis talks with professors concerning the academic capabilities of students. In the past few years the majority have become incapable of producing even first and second year work, much less write advanced papers or conduct actual research. For the first time the consensus was that many students should be encouraged to focus their efforts on technical programmes. While too PC to admit the uselessness of many “academic” programmes, there is a growing tacit acknowledgement that they’re of limited to no use.

    I have a proposal for how to deal with worthless degrees. Medicine, youth education, maths, engineering, etc. should be fully funded. The costs associated with becoming a doctor are especially ruinous. Things that are not exactly critical but still have practical uses, especially in conjunction with other disciplines should be partly funded. This list comprises history, business, regional studies, IT, cooking, etc. However, absolutely useless things such as media studies, bitter women studies, underwater basket weaving, etc. should not be funded at all and those who wish to study these curses should do so at their own expense. This would immediately reduce the number of worthless students.

  4. christinaosborne
    January 2, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Christopher, an absolutely splendid idea! A graded funding system.

    Janus, I do apologise, total brain fart! Too early in the morning!!!

    Re food, not the science, the cooking. The best chefs are always the Swiss trained, it takes an 8 year apprenticeship there and my doesn’t it show! UK is a two year crap college based qualification, total plonkers. Serving fresh, frog style food I always had the place headed up by a continental, what a difference. Cost a fortune but worth every penny. Plus they taught the others on the job (and me too.)
    Not that I ever employed anyone in the kitchen without them working for a couple of days in the kitchen. talk about sorting sheep from goats. Never forget the vegan chef who wouldn’t taste his own meat dishes or the college graduate who asked where the ‘mix’ was when asked to make a gallon of white sauce!!!! Neither lasted a morning!

  5. January 2, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Germany isn’t much different. It takes years of training before a cook is released into the world — only to start at the bottom of the culinary ladder! I was taught how to make everything from scratch and my mother insisted that I learn how to cook. She wouldn’t tolerate having a son incapable of taking care of himself. It’s taught me to be contemptuous of people who rely on boxes.

  6. January 3, 2017 at 7:20 am

    I had food science in mind, not cooking.

    CT’s ranking system for student grants sounds tasty, if only people couls begin to agree on what is important/desirable in education!

  7. Four-eyed English Genius
    January 3, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    I quite agree with many of the points raised above. There are far too many “universities” offering Mickey Mouse degrees. There are far too many students going into tertiary university education who are not academically suitable. The technical colleges should be reinstated as it is then possible to offer more apprenticeships an technician courses and it would be a good idea to favour STEM subject students financially.

    One thing not mentioned is the effect that all the excessive number of university places has had on the quality of the students education leaving uni. Before I retired in the late Noughties, and, because I was good at assessing people, one of my job functions was to sit on graduate interview boards for a large part of my career. I could see how the standard of potential scientific and engineering recruits was falling for a long time, especially after the Monster Blair’s education, education, education BS. In the end, it was hardly worth interviewing anyone who had not been to a Russell Group university or a university abroad.

  8. January 3, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Yes. The solution is to improve primary and secondary education so that students can take advantage of tertiary learning. Three Rs, no BS.

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