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  • And there's student loans of course.

    - Cost of Iraq war £8.3 bn
    - cost of Afghanistan war £37 bn
    - UK investment in graduate training schemes: ?????
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    It's just a natural reaction to the previous policy of getting 50%+ of people to uni. There simply isn't the need so why not allow the free market to decide who gets to go? Another other option is to limit the number of places and select on ability. Or allow everybody to go for free and have people too qualified for 'normal' jobs.

    How should we choose which students get to fill the small number of graduate slots that are GENUINELY needed?
  • finchyfinchy Posts: 6,889
    University should be limited to people who can get a decent grade in a relevant subject at A level. If you can't do that then university's likely to be a massive waste of money and three years of your life.
  • briantrumpetbriantrumpet Posts: 4,325
    I do wonder when the wheels are going to fall off this one. When I went to uni fewer than 10% of school leavers did, and our fees and some or all of our living costs were paid. Now 50% go, the fees are far higher, the unis are richer, and it's all being paid for by students borrowing, which is also keeping them out of the labour market for three extra years. And I suspect that the number of jobs really needing a degree is about the same as it was when only 10% went to uni. If my reading is correct these students are owing a total of £46 BILLION(!), all of which has paid to keep them out of the labour market (or off the unemployment figures).

    It's one of the biggest scams of our time, I reckon.

    Blimey, sorry, I think that was a rant. I do apologise.
  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    Nick-Clegg-tuition-fees-pledge.jpg
  • RideOnTimeRideOnTime Posts: 4,712
    RDW wrote:
    Nick-Clegg-tuition-fees-pledge.jpg

    Who's that with him Lord Rennard?
    He's never going to get back in to parliament.
    Sheffield Hallam constituency...
  • nochekmatenochekmate Posts: 3,460
    Not only the student loans but also the fact that the loans do not even cover accommodation expenses never mind living costs - my eldest two sons currently cost me c. £1000 per month in total - just for them to eat and pay accommodation costs.

    Government are strangling those of us on middle incomes. I console myself with the fact that they are at reputable universities doing decent courses instead of some of the shite out there masquerading as degrees. I work in an independent school where our parents are demanding 'customers' - universities do little to justify their fees of 9k a year IMO.
  • owenlarsowenlars Posts: 719
    Trouble is that an enormous University industry has been created to cater for the 50% target. If the politicians close three quarters of it down now because they decide that we don't need all these undergraduates there will be an unholy row. Also all those undergraduates who are off the jobs market for three years from 18-21 will all of sudden be adding to the unemployment figures. Oh and all the University constituencies would vote out their MPs. Not that I'm cynical or anything.
  • I did mechanical engineering in London in 1991, and it did help me get my later jobs (even though they had naff all to do with engineering).

    But my advice now for 18 year olds is to think very hard about going to uni. Unless you think you can get a 2.1 or better in something useful like medicine, engineering, maths, etc. I don't think it's worth the time or money.

    If you come out of it with a 2.2 in media studies you're worth no more than when you went in, and you're 30 grand in debt.

    Far better to worm your way into a relevant company and get some experience and work your way up from within.

    That and learn Chinese.
  • Garry HGarry H Posts: 6,614
    johnfinch wrote:
    University should be limited to people who can get a decent grade in a relevant subject at A level. If you can't do that then university's likely to be a massive waste of money and three years of your life.

    Who decides what's relevant though?
  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    edited January 2014
    RideOnTime wrote:
    Who's that with him Lord Rennard?
    He's never going to get back in to parliament.
    Sheffield Hallam constituency...

    Julian Huppert, apparently - one of the few who kept his word on the tuition fees pledge (having Cambridge University in his constituency may have had some bearing on this decision).

    clegg_huppert_pledge.jpg

    He later had to get a new pledge photo done without Clegg in it:

    http://politicalscrapbook.net/2010/12/h ... ees-photo/

    Edit: Incidentally, spotted on the same site when looking up the Clegg photo, an inspired last ditch protest by Thwaites brewery workers facing the sack:

    http://politicalscrapbook.net/2014/01/b ... ead-twats/

    They switched off the H, I and E on the company's illuminated THWAITES sign, on 'a giant tower...visible across Blackburn and much of East Lancashire'...
  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    owenlars wrote:
    Trouble is that an enormous University industry has been created to cater for the 50% target

    On the other hand we also have an enormous 'school industry' that caters for the previous 12-15 years of these kids' education, often with smaller class sizes, taught by trained professionals rather than amateurs whose real job is research. Why can we afford one from general taxation and not the other? How can Scotalnd manage it and we can't? And isn't the fact that half the population now goes to University an argument for, rather than against, central funding? There are plenty of other things we spend public money on that benefit a much smaller proportion of the population. But the thing I really dislike about tuition fees is the whole shift from regarding education as a public good (in which we invest in the future by developing young people to their full potential), to a system where it's thought of as just some sort of career mortgage we demand from 'paying customers'. So we saddle teenagers with debt at the start of their working lives (to add to the now unaffordable housing mortgages they'll be trying to scrape together a few years later), while those of use who were lucky enough to benefit from free education (and often cheaper mortgages) take on none of this burden. It looks suspiciously like a tax on being young, imposed by the middle-aged.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,780 Lives Here
    RDW wrote:
    owenlars wrote:
    Trouble is that an enormous University industry has been created to cater for the 50% target

    On the other hand we also have an enormous 'school industry' that caters for the previous 12-15 years of these kids' education, often with smaller class sizes, taught by trained professionals rather than amateurs whose real job is research.

    A lot of people who teach at university are just that. Teachers. At a high level. Not every lecturer is a professor who is there to research.

    Anyway, that aside, you need to look at why the 50% target came about.

    The UK has expensive labour, and can't compete with the far east for non-high skilled work. It instead must compete on a high value added, highly skilled level - where the developed west has a particular edge. Now, if you're going to gear the big proportion of the economy to do that, which in my view makes sense, you need to have a high proportion of 'highly skilled' labourers your labour force. So someone somewhere figured that a good way to get there is have 50% of students go through university. Now it's that last bit that may not be quite right. But turning university back into the elitist top 10% is all very well for the 10% who go, but it doesn't really help the rest of the economy.

    I think the issue is around what people mean by university and higher education. People understand it in an old fashioned way - that it's all about the classic school subjects - english, engineering, maths, history etc etc.

    Now , that clearly works for that same 10% we're referring to before, who end up at the top tier universities. But university for the rest can be just as useful - sports science (for example) nursing, accountancy etc etc. They all are just as useful and require education beyond the age of 18.

    Now you can also look at the funding of universities and see how they're rewarded, which, I reckon, might explain why there are degrees like 'Beckham studies' etc, but I'm not sure.
  • finchyfinchy Posts: 6,889
    Garry H wrote:
    johnfinch wrote:
    University should be limited to people who can get a decent grade in a relevant subject at A level. If you can't do that then university's likely to be a massive waste of money and three years of your life.

    Who decides what's relevant though?

    I'm sure the admissions tutors have a good idea of what subjects are relevant to your university studies. If you want to do Physics, then A-levels in French, History and Economics aren't much good.
  • finchyfinchy Posts: 6,889
    RDW wrote:
    But the thing I really dislike about tuition fees is the whole shift from regarding education as a public good (in which we invest in the future by developing young people to their full potential), to a system where it's thought of as just some sort of career mortgage we demand from 'paying customers'. So we saddle teenagers with debt at the start of their working lives (to add to the now unaffordable housing mortgages they'll be trying to scrape together a few years later), while those of use who were lucky enough to benefit from free education (and often cheaper mortgages) take on none of this burden. It looks suspiciously like a tax on being young, imposed by the middle-aged.

    And that is exactly what is wrong with tuition fees.
  • Garry HGarry H Posts: 6,614
    johnfinch wrote:
    Garry H wrote:
    johnfinch wrote:
    University should be limited to people who can get a decent grade in a relevant subject at A level. If you can't do that then university's likely to be a massive waste of money and three years of your life.

    Who decides what's relevant though?

    I'm sure the admissions tutors have a good idea of what subjects are relevant to your university studies. If you want to do Physics, then A-levels in French, History and Economics aren't much good.

    Does that really happen? People applying for degrees in pure science subjects, but with no background?
  • bdu98252bdu98252 Posts: 171
    If you are going to centrally fund university then you would need to limit numbers based on industry requirements. Using tax payers money to teach people basket weaving or fashion design is not a good use of resources.
  • Garry HGarry H Posts: 6,614
    Not even if you wish to have a career in fashion design?
  • finchyfinchy Posts: 6,889
    Garry H wrote:
    johnfinch wrote:
    Garry H wrote:
    johnfinch wrote:
    University should be limited to people who can get a decent grade in a relevant subject at A level. If you can't do that then university's likely to be a massive waste of money and three years of your life.

    Who decides what's relevant though?

    I'm sure the admissions tutors have a good idea of what subjects are relevant to your university studies. If you want to do Physics, then A-levels in French, History and Economics aren't much good.

    Does that really happen? People applying for degrees in pure science subjects, but with no background?

    No, but I think you missed the point of my original post (or maybe I expressed it badly). What I mean is a decent grade in a subject relevant to your chosen degree.
  • owenlarsowenlars Posts: 719
    Garry H wrote:

    Does that really happen? People applying for degrees in pure science subjects, but with no background?

    No I don't think it does. But it is strange that we set a 50% university target because we need highly skilled workers and we then say "oh by the way you have to go 50k into debt to do it" and expect everyone to go through it. In Germany, where they still make stuff, they still have a comprehensive and very effective apprentice system where those who don't have the academic credentials to be astrophysicists or brain surgeons learn how to make bloody good cars and trains and electrical switchgear etc etc. We need to acknowledge that university is good for some and terrible for others who would be better off learning how to weld or make circuit boards. Trouble is that means that not everyone is equal...........
  • Garry HGarry H Posts: 6,614
    johnfinch wrote:
    No, but I think you missed the point of my original post (or maybe I expressed it badly). What I mean is a decent grade in a subject relevant to your chosen degree.

    You're right, I did miss the point. I originally thought you meant the degree subject should be a relevant one, ie no degrees in "mickey mouse" subjects and, therefore, who decides what the "mickey mouse" subjects should be.

    I agree with your point though, i think :wink:
  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    RDW wrote:
    owenlars wrote:
    Trouble is that an enormous University industry has been created to cater for the 50% target

    On the other hand we also have an enormous 'school industry' that caters for the previous 12-15 years of these kids' education, often with smaller class sizes, taught by trained professionals rather than amateurs whose real job is research.

    A lot of people who teach at university are just that. Teachers. At a high level. Not every lecturer is a professor who is there to research.

    Although I was being rather facetious, this was pretty much true for all of my lecturers (in a science subject), even the junior staff, and is most likely to be case the higher you go up the list of top-ranked universities. You simply won't get a position at one of these institutions without a serious research portfolio, and you won't get tenure without further publications and successful grant applications.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,780 Lives Here
    RDW wrote:
    RDW wrote:
    owenlars wrote:
    Trouble is that an enormous University industry has been created to cater for the 50% target

    On the other hand we also have an enormous 'school industry' that caters for the previous 12-15 years of these kids' education, often with smaller class sizes, taught by trained professionals rather than amateurs whose real job is research.

    A lot of people who teach at university are just that. Teachers. At a high level. Not every lecturer is a professor who is there to research.

    Although I was being rather facetious, this was pretty much true for all of my lecturers (in a science subject), even the junior staff, and is most likely to be case the higher you go up the list of top-ranked universities. You simply won't get a position at one of these institutions without a serious research portfolio, and you won't get tenure without further publications and successful grant applications.

    This is not true.

    And take it from me, my mother lectures at Cambridge, as do the parents of a number of my close friends.

    Departments need good quality lecturers as much as they need good quality research.

    University rankings, those global ones you see that Cambridge or Oxford sometimes top measure the quality of research and teaching and give them equal rating.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,608
    Well things must have changed Rick because certainly a few years back you were employed for your research profile not your ability as a teacher. That's not to say there aren't good teachers there and many would rather teach than research.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    Well that's odd, because if I go to the Cambridge departmental directory:

    http://map.cam.ac.uk/directory/

    pick any department at random, and look up the details of a random staff member (where they are provided in detail), I see a (usually pretty long) list of publications and research interests...
  • capt_slogcapt_slog Posts: 3,272
    RDW wrote:
    Nick-Clegg-tuition-fees-pledge.jpg

    Thanks for that.

    I'm going to save this photo and print it out. It'll be on-hand for when the electioneering prats come around to my door in the next round of the 5 yearly democracy con.


    The older I get, the better I was.

  • Paulie WPaulie W Posts: 1,492
    RDW wrote:
    RDW wrote:
    owenlars wrote:
    Trouble is that an enormous University industry has been created to cater for the 50% target

    On the other hand we also have an enormous 'school industry' that caters for the previous 12-15 years of these kids' education, often with smaller class sizes, taught by trained professionals rather than amateurs whose real job is research.

    A lot of people who teach at university are just that. Teachers. At a high level. Not every lecturer is a professor who is there to research.

    Although I was being rather facetious, this was pretty much true for all of my lecturers (in a science subject), even the junior staff, and is most likely to be case the higher you go up the list of top-ranked universities. You simply won't get a position at one of these institutions without a serious research portfolio, and you won't get tenure without further publications and successful grant applications.

    This is not true.

    And take it from me, my mother lectures at Cambridge, as do the parents of a number of my close friends.

    Departments need good quality lecturers as much as they need good quality research.

    University rankings, those global ones you see that Cambridge or Oxford sometimes top measure the quality of research and teaching and give them equal rating.

    Sorry Rick you will rarely get a post at Cambridge without a current or potential research profile. People are being 'moved out' at universities far lower down the food chain for not having a strong enough research profile.

    Good researchers are often good teachers too though, IME.
  • Paulie WPaulie W Posts: 1,492
    RDW wrote:
    RDW wrote:
    owenlars wrote:
    Trouble is that an enormous University industry has been created to cater for the 50% target

    On the other hand we also have an enormous 'school industry' that caters for the previous 12-15 years of these kids' education, often with smaller class sizes, taught by trained professionals rather than amateurs whose real job is research.

    A lot of people who teach at university are just that. Teachers. At a high level. Not every lecturer is a professor who is there to research.

    Although I was being rather facetious, this was pretty much true for all of my lecturers (in a science subject), even the junior staff, and is most likely to be case the higher you go up the list of top-ranked universities. You simply won't get a position at one of these institutions without a serious research portfolio, and you won't get tenure without further publications and successful grant applications.

    The 'amateurs' thing is a bit out of date to be honest. Most people who get permanent academic posts have more experience of teaching than most teachers in schools at the outset and academics now have to gain a PG qualification in teaching and learning.
  • gpreevesgpreeves Posts: 454
    Paulie W wrote:
    RDW wrote:
    RDW wrote:
    owenlars wrote:
    Trouble is that an enormous University industry has been created to cater for the 50% target

    On the other hand we also have an enormous 'school industry' that caters for the previous 12-15 years of these kids' education, often with smaller class sizes, taught by trained professionals rather than amateurs whose real job is research.

    A lot of people who teach at university are just that. Teachers. At a high level. Not every lecturer is a professor who is there to research.

    Although I was being rather facetious, this was pretty much true for all of my lecturers (in a science subject), even the junior staff, and is most likely to be case the higher you go up the list of top-ranked universities. You simply won't get a position at one of these institutions without a serious research portfolio, and you won't get tenure without further publications and successful grant applications.

    This is not true.

    And take it from me, my mother lectures at Cambridge, as do the parents of a number of my close friends.

    Departments need good quality lecturers as much as they need good quality research.

    University rankings, those global ones you see that Cambridge or Oxford sometimes top measure the quality of research and teaching and give them equal rating.

    Sorry Rick you will rarely get a post at Cambridge without a current or potential research profile. People are being 'moved out' at universities far lower down the food chain for not having a strong enough research profile.

    Good researchers are often good teachers too though, IME.

    Unfortunately this isn't always the case.

    I'm currently studying for a MSc at one Russell Group university, having obtained my BSc at another. I could count on one hand the number of excellent "teachers" I've encountered - one is a teaching fellow and the others have been PhD students supplementing their stipends with teaching work.

    All too often, my courses have felt like recitals of material from previous years, in order to generate large amounts of revenue from overseas student fees.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,608
    Unless it's changed in recent years the PG qualification in teaching isn't particularly onerous - you couldn't compare it to a PGCE.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
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