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    • MSE William
    • By MSE William 31st Aug 17, 6:19 PM
    • 59Posts
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    MSE William
    Is post-school education good value for money?
    • #1
    • 31st Aug 17, 6:19 PM
    Is post-school education good value for money? 31st Aug 17 at 6:19 PM
    The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee is investigating the funding of post-school education, which includes universities, further education colleges and apprenticeships.

    They really want to hear what you think about the current system, and how it could be improved.

    1. Did your post-school education give you the skills you need?
    2. Do you think it was good value for money?
    3. What changes would improve the current system?

    Please tell us your thoughts below and we’ll send them on to the Committee.

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    • onomatopoeia99
    • By onomatopoeia99 6th Sep 17, 9:53 PM
    • 3,337 Posts
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    onomatopoeia99
    My son ended up in enormous debt because the conservatives and lib dems brought in tuition fees.
    Originally posted by happyinflorida
    For absolute accuracy, university tuition fees were first brought in by the Blair government with Brown as chancellor in 1998, which they later trebled. That was a Labour government. The coalition trebled them again.

    For a good computing degree (computer systems engineering or computer science) I'd be lookng at one at somewhere like the University of Bristol, or Warwick, Manchester, Bath, or Imperial in London (I've ignored Oxbridge as being too hard for many to get into). Never even heard of Canterbury (is that the old church college?) as a quality place for computer science or computer systems engineering, and it's my field. As for "Information Technology", it's more a BTEC / HNC / HND subject, as it's very applied / vocational rather than theoretical.
    INTP, nerd, libertarian and scifi geek.
    Home is where my books are.
    • Mrs_Ryan
    • By Mrs_Ryan 7th Sep 17, 1:36 AM
    • 10,209 Posts
    • 18,407 Thanks
    Mrs_Ryan
    If you see my signature you will see that I am a very proud graduate of the Open University. I am so grateful to the OU for giving me the break I badly needed. I went to university at 18 and learned very little. The course I was on was a waste of time. I changed courses after realising that in one lecture due to having an A Level in the subject I was asking questions that the lecturer couldn't answer!

    When I became disabled a few years ago and had to give up nursing I wondered what to do next. It was the OU who gave me the opportunity to study a subject I had always loved (English) I had fantastic help and support- at one point I wrote one assignment on an old tablet lying on my side on the sofa because I was too poorly to even lift my head and my laptop was broken. The assignment wasn't great but the OU tutors and staff understood and praised me for even trying. Yet at a brick uni- I kid you not- I was told that the condition I had which developed into cancer couldn't be taken into consideration for an appeal against a failed exam because it was a specific female condition and they could only consider conditions that an 'average student' male or female- could suffer from. So had it been say something like diabetes or epilepsy and the cancer it lead to something like leukaemia that would have been okay but they can't consider medical conditions specific to one gender! (The student union helped me to appeal against this on the grounds of gender discrimination and I won but I was too unwell to take up my place on the course again) They couldn't care less about trying to support me whereas the Support I had from the OU was amazing.

    Yet the government seem to be doing their utmost to decimate this fantastic institution. Thanks to their determination to try and put people off part time study by cutting the funds allocated which has a knock on effect to institutions like the OU. I would make a plea to the government to please stop doing this and to provide more funding. Give distance learning part time students equal entitlements to maintainance loans etc. The costs of distance learning can add up- for instance the tutorials for my last module were in Leeds. I live in Leicestershire. I had to pay for travel, accommodation etc- and didn't get a penny of help. All because I'm 'part time' I studied at full time intensity and had far more hours of study than a lot of brick uni students I knew but because I was 'studying at a lower intensity' than a brick uni student in my subject I don't deserve help!

    There are many reasons that people study by distance learning. This should be encouraged- not discouraged as the government are so hell bent on doing. There should be equal recognition- not less. I am going to a brick uni to study for my Masters and when I spoke to the Professor in charge of the course she said that she always welcomed OU students on the course because of their excellent independent study skills and knowledge.

    I am proud to be a graduate of the OU and I will happily tell anyone who asks me at my new university. That's the overriding thing about my post school education and something I feel so strongly about- the unfair treatment of part time specifically distance learning students.
    Very proud to be Open University BA (Hons) English Lang and Lit Graduate! ❤️DMU MA English begins 09/17
    WFC and pleased to be sponsor for the 2nd season ❤️ 🐝
    Will always miss you Elle and will never forget you, brightest star in the sky 😢
    • MSE Andrea
    • By MSE Andrea 7th Sep 17, 3:55 PM
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    MSE Andrea
    Hi everyone.

    We've moved this over from the MoneySavers' Arms. It would be great to hear your thoughts.

    Andrea

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    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 8th Sep 17, 10:16 AM
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    Malthusian
    1. Yes. Developing my mathematics, analysis and research skills was crucial to my career.

    2. Qualified yes. Despite the above, I strongly suspect I would be earning the same as I do now if I hadn't gone to university. But three years of student life was undeniably more fun than going straight into the 9-5, and gave me a chance to meet people and try things that I wouldn't have done in working life.

    3. Do to the universities what Henry VIII did to the monasteries. 80% of them should be appropriated by the Government without compensation, razed to the ground, the land sold off to build luxury flats, and the proceeds used to write off the debts of every young person who has been conned into getting a useless Mickey Mouse degree.

    (This would not affect any university that genuinely gives its students value, as anyone would be free to outbid the property developers and continue to run the university as a university, if it is worth more than the land it sits on.)

    University grants and student loans would be abolished and instead every young person in the UK would be given £30,000 at age 18 which could be spent on either a) university tuition fees b) a house deposit or c) added to their pension fund.
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 9th Sep 17, 7:36 AM
    • 19,507 Posts
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    Spendless
    You asked about post school. There's been a lot of posts about Universities. I wanted to say something about FE colleges.

    My son has been at one for the past year, on a 2 year course. My son started when he was 16 so the course is free. One of his friends though, went to sixth form for a year, then did an apprenticeship before signing up for this 2 year course and has discovered he needs to pay for his second year, because he has already had 3 years worth of FE funding. The college didn't make that clear to him on enrolling and I'm surprised that an apprenticeship counts as a year, since the apprentice is paid and I was under the belief that if your child took one you would no longer be entitled to CB or CTC.

    Also, for years I have had anecdotes from friends about their child not being allowed into yr13 at sixth form, due to not got enough exam results at the end of yr12. A case like this recently hit the media as the parents of the students concerned were about to challenge this desicion in court and the school backed down and let them in. I'd say this practise needs looking at and also options for pupils who sit their GCSE exams and don't get the results needed for their required place, by which time many places have passed their deadline for applying to.
    • BethP
    • By BethP 9th Sep 17, 9:44 PM
    • 9 Posts
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    BethP
    Post 16 Education provision is good in Merseyside for most subject areas, imo. (I'm a careers guidance officer.) One area that needs to be improved: practical careers. Bricklaying has inadequate provision for practical hands-on bricklaying. Long waiting lists for people wanting to train / retrain as plumbers.

    Astonishing that, even now, decades following their introduction, so many post-16 learners DO NOT KNOW they can join a Basic Skills English / Maths / ICT / ESOL class for FREE at any time of year?? Learners do not need to wait for September, January or April enrolment. Sadly, basic skills are lacking in many people thus they have a barrier to personal development / employment.
    • BethP
    • By BethP 9th Sep 17, 10:32 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 6 Thanks
    BethP
    For positive post 16 education outcomes I believe we need pupils to do more public speaking + current affairs in junior school so as to build confidence and increase general knowledge. (Roger Philips from Radio Merseyside visited my son's junior school class most weeks. Out of 30 boys + girls, just two 8yo boys could answer his questions.) Watching the news on tv / internet or listening to the radio plus reading a newspaper are very useful tools for everyone.

    I wish there was less emphasis on going to University. University is not for everyone. Some are good with their hands; others perfect for the caring professions. GCSEs are sufficient for many career paths. Kids at 15yo do not always know what they want to do for work. Requiring a Degree to become a nurse is, imo, a mistake. There are thousands of kind, caring, dedicated people who are now being denied the opportunity to become nurses simply because they are unable to obtain a Degree. Why not open nursing up once more and let the Degree holders fast track up their career ladder.
    • Kayalana99
    • By Kayalana99 10th Sep 17, 8:42 AM
    • 3,318 Posts
    • 5,950 Thanks
    Kayalana99
    It's really interesting in this thread that, whilst I've not read every post, most people who actually have a degree say it worked well for them. The ones disagreeing it never actually went to Uni.

    As someone currently doing a OU degree, it's really interesting to hear people's experiences.
    People don't know what they want until you show them.
    • WibblyGirly
    • By WibblyGirly 10th Sep 17, 7:24 PM
    • 199 Posts
    • 388 Thanks
    WibblyGirly
    For myself personally I think my further education has benefitted me. I worked in minimum wage retail for years before I thought 'Is this it? Is this all?' I decided to go to uni just to broaden my options initially, after all, I couldn't end up worse off afterwards. Figured out in 2nd year a career path and I'm about to start a Masters that will lead to employment in a specific career. I'll be earning double or even triple what I was getting from retail and I'll actually enjoy it.

    I think the key for me was not rushing straight into further education, but waiting to figure out a course I wanted to do.
    • swanie007
    • By swanie007 10th Sep 17, 8:34 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    swanie007
    I did PGSE to become a teacher on the direct scheme and it equipped me with the skills I needed but I don't think it was worth £9000 and certainly not the added interest on my loan. I think the government needs to reduce the interest rate to the bank of England rate and that will reduce student debt. 6% is ridiculous and not necessary.
    • perfecthost
    • By perfecthost 11th Sep 17, 2:50 PM
    • 2 Posts
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    perfecthost
    Key shifts in emphasis needed
    In my new book, Organisational Myths, due for publication via Bookboon in autumn 2017, I advocate five key shifts in education (and hence in financing of education):
    1) from academic to technical/vocational CONTENT;
    2) from academic to skills focussed, practical APPROACH;
    3) from (educational) establishment to workplace;
    4) from classroom to on the job;
    5) from qualifications and exams to skills assessment and skills passport.
    See also: SKILLdoctors, position paper.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 11th Sep 17, 4:35 PM
    • 1,170 Posts
    • 1,202 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    If someone chooses to continue in education, working towards a specific goal then generally yes. What I don't agree with is forcing 16 year olds to stay on for another 2 years if they are unmotivated and don't want to be there. I attended a local college to do my HR qualifications. Nightmare. My class was constantly disturbed by teenagers running about, swearing and generally being a nuisance. They didn't want to be there. The teachers had to suffer kids skipping lessons and not achieving grades, thus making the college stats look bad, resulting in difficulty recruiting new teachers etc. Waste of taxpayers money.
    My own CIPD qualification didn't pay off. Cost me £1200 but no job offers as I don't have any practical experience.... However my husband studied and changed career and is now very successful. But he did it pretty much for free. Online articles, borrowed books etc.
    Its never too late to learn.
    • perfecthost
    • By perfecthost 12th Sep 17, 12:52 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    perfecthost
    The answer is having different costs for different subjects according to the needs of the nation.
    Originally posted by Karen Bassett
    I think you and others here are highlighting something very relevant, but may be over-emphasising the importance of the subject. One of the main (highly inefficient and wasteful) purposes of a university education is what Professor Alison Wolf, in an August 2017 article for Prospect magazine, calls 'signalling'. Gaining a degree (at the right time) signals that you are a particular kind of person, i.e. a person like the people who might employ you. Interestingly, perhaps partly for the same reason, Prof Wolf, in a 2006 paper published in the Journal of Education Policy, demonstrated that, below a certain level, gaining a qualification as an adult had little or no effect on earning power.
    Last edited by perfecthost; 12-09-2017 at 1:42 PM. Reason: Clarification.
    • andydownes123
    • By andydownes123 12th Sep 17, 4:26 PM
    • 84 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    andydownes123
    I would like to see day-release courses, where students spend 4 days out of 5 studying and 1 day in the workplace. One thing I was lacking when I left university was relevant work experience.
    Originally posted by avogadro
    Unfortunately, gone are the days whereby a placement can be found for everyone. More like one in fifty can get a placement.
    • andydownes123
    • By andydownes123 12th Sep 17, 4:29 PM
    • 84 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    andydownes123
    My eldest son started at uni when the fees had been introduced at £3000 a year. He had very little tuition time, about 5 hours a week, with the rest being 'self-guided study'. Five years later, my youngest son started at uni, with a £9,250 ball of chain, and less than 8 hours tuition a week. This excuse of 'self-guided study' is an absolute cop-out and no value for money. I remember being amazed at the difference in five years all the universities having brand new facilities, or in the process of new buildings being built. All paid for by students, but no value in return. Incidentally, my youngest son has now dropped out of uni after one year as he felt he had not learnt anything!

    My middle son did a full-time apprenticeship at college, but has been unable to get a job as he has no practical experience. How do you get the practical experience without a job? I would like to see an affiliation between education providers and employers where the apprentices are employed for, say, six months in order to gain the experience necessary to get a job elsewhere. Otherwise, doing apprenticeship courses would seem to be a waste of everyone's time and money.
    Originally posted by MaisieMouSE
    I think a lot of parents think that the facilities at institutions fall out of the sky. Our department cost 16 million pounds to build and equip, 1 million on my area alone. Tuition fees pay for heating, lighting, Internet, incredibly expensive software and hardware, not to mention the teaching team. To 'buy' this kind of access in the 'real world' would cost around about £1000 per day in my field.
    • andydownes123
    • By andydownes123 12th Sep 17, 4:30 PM
    • 84 Posts
    • 143 Thanks
    andydownes123
    It's really interesting in this thread that, whilst I've not read every post, most people who actually have a degree say it worked well for them. The ones disagreeing it never actually went to Uni.

    As someone currently doing a OU degree, it's really interesting to hear people's experiences.
    Originally posted by Kayalana99
    Yep - you are completely right. Most people who have a degree say it's benefited them. Those that haven't are all to quick to say they are not useful...funny that! A degree is more than just studying a course, it can be (for those interested) a complete u-turn in thinking and behaviour which can set them up on the right path for life. Of course, there are those doing it for the funding now...
    • Judi
    • By Judi 12th Sep 17, 4:47 PM
    • 15,060 Posts
    • 61,236 Thanks
    Judi
    4 of my kids went to college, the one that didnt is the one that up to yet has done the most with her life.

    2 of my kids didnt do anything with their qualifications.
    'Holy crap on a cracker!'
    • Gloomendoom
    • By Gloomendoom 12th Sep 17, 8:34 PM
    • 12,698 Posts
    • 16,895 Thanks
    Gloomendoom
    I think a lot of parents think that the facilities at institutions fall out of the sky. Our department cost 16 million pounds to build and equip, 1 million on my area alone. Tuition fees pay for heating, lighting, Internet, incredibly expensive software and hardware, not to mention the teaching team. To 'buy' this kind of access in the 'real world' would cost around about £1000 per day in my field.
    Originally posted by andydownes123
    The department I work for barely breaks even teaching UK undergraduates. Even at 9k a year.
    Advice; it rhymes with mice. Advise; it rhymes with wise.
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 13th Sep 17, 12:31 AM
    • 4,845 Posts
    • 6,070 Thanks
    theoretica
    Value for money for whom? Just the students? Or the taxpayer? A skilled and educated population is good for the economy, but there are skill shortages where scholarships might help.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • EoinD
    • By EoinD 13th Sep 17, 9:56 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    EoinD
    Cash-cows
    As a lecturer and mother of two university students I can see this from both sides.

    Education has become a financial transaction; which means many students believe they are entitled to a 'good' (2.1 or above) degree - regardless of what effort they put in. And universities conspire in this, as they are ranked by pass and retention rates etc; therefore, it is not in an institutions interests to disappoint.
    If students were consumer savvy they really wouldn't accept the 'contracts' that they sign upon enrollment: for example they are told they're paying for computing or library facilities - there is never any mention of number of terminals, availability etc. But what they actually want is good teaching and good facilities; however, they have no way of really knowing if that's what they're getting until after they've signed a contract, paid their fees and are some way into the course. Universities do not and are not asked to abide by basic consumer law - if they were this might go some way towards improving the situation for students. .
    And then there is the issue of why all courses cost the same - science and engineering courses are far more expensive to run than history or politics - are some students cross-subsidising others? And do all students actually get what they've paid for? One of my children constantly complains that his friends on other courses have more contact hours, field trips etc., while he is going to get five hours a week when he returns in two weeks time.As for academic support with coursework, written English, maths ... forget it - just something that looks good in the prospectus; or to convince them to sign up on 'open days'.
    I've been at the University I work at for nearly twenty years and there have never been more people employed in senior management roles than there are now. These people are highly paid, completely non-productive and non-accountable. Every time the University goes up the rankings they award them selves another pay-rise/bonus; if we go down the rank and file get a kicking..
    I believe that universities are making hay while the sun shines - time to rain on their parade and make them do the right thing. Too many people will be denied a fulfilling life because they are saddled with student debt. And for what - so that they can fight for jobs stacking shelves, or line the pockets of the university fat-cats who don't see students, just cash-cows.
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