'Dear teachers – an important letter about your pupils' future' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.



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  • I read the fact about a 12.9% decrease but also read that foreign students have increased by a similar amount - but I think there are some additional points to be made:

    a) Maybe the higher fees are putting off those who just go to uni to 'have a laugh' as they don't know what else to do - quite a few people on my course just weren't bothered about actual learning

    b) If foreign students are rising and domestic ones falling - domestic ones may be at a disadvantage to the foreign students in terms of employment in the future

    c) There are a lot of graduates out there with no job or one not related to what they want to be doing - so whilst in the past a university degree gave you a better chance in life I don't think this holds true anymore (and I mean generally not just for those who do perceived easy subjects like Hospitality Management etc.)
  • edited 28 November 2011 at 7:16PM
    tagq2tagq2 Forumite
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    edited 28 November 2011 at 7:16PM
    If I were 18 again I wouldn't go full-time into university after leaving school. What would be the point? The undergraduate experience has degenerated to the point that most people think they're just coasting along to get a job - then leave to find out that no-one in the commercial world cares about their piece of paper unless they've graduated from one of the top 10. And even then...

    Many people would be better off to study part time then, if they do well and are serious about their subject, enter the full-time academic system at a point where people around them are equally passionate about their work.

    Maybe the reduction is partly due to thinking along these lines. Are there surveys suggesting one way or the other?
  • it's also worth remembering that the 2011 applications are being compared against the 2010 levels - which will be much higher than normal since there was a rush to get in before the fees. it doesn't necessarily mean that students are put off uni by the fees.
    :happyhear
  • Goping to 'uni' (how I detest that phrase), is the dole by another name. Sending hordes of young people to university is just another variant on the raising-the-school-leaving-age scam used by successive governments to fiddle the unemployment figures.
    "Never underestimate the mindless force of a government bureaucracy
    seeking to expand its power, dominion and budget"
    Jay Stanley, American Civil Liberties Union.
  • cgk1cgk1 Forumite
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    it's also worth remembering that the 2011 applications are being compared against the 2010 levels - which will be much higher than normal since there was a rush to get in before the fees. it doesn't necessarily mean that students are put off uni by the fees.

    Also there is massive variation between Universities - my local university is up 2%.
  • Very good, Martin - thank you. I am fed up with all the misinformation that has surrounded the increase in fees ... mind you, the government has to be blamed for dreadful marketing!!

    By the way "... they rarely explain it bares only a passing resemblance ..." ... um - "bears", I hope ... :)

    Andrew
  • Aki123Aki123 Forumite
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    Education is a right, not a privilege. Every child in this country should be able to study to degree level without worrying about how it will affect their future earnings, after all, if they have good jobs they will be paying higher taxes toward the education of the children who follow them. It is extremely short-sighted of a country not to want to invest in the education of the next generation. These are our future teachers, doctors, and business leaders, (and artists and playwrights too!). We want them to be drawn from all sectors of society, not just those born to the privileged few. I am shocked that we have allowed student loans to be introduced, and fully support the return to a grant system which is fair to all.
  • seven-day-weekendseven-day-weekend Forumite
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    Aki123 wrote: »
    Education is a right, not a privilege. Every child in this country should be able to study to degree level without worrying about how it will affect their future earnings, after all, if they have good jobs they will be paying higher taxes toward the education of the children who follow them. It is extremely short-sighted of a country not to want to invest in the education of the next generation. These are our future teachers, doctors, and business leaders, (and artists and playwrights too!). We want them to be drawn from all sectors of society, not just those born to the privileged few. I am shocked that we have allowed student loans to be introduced, and fully support the return to a grant system which is fair to all.

    I assume that they will not have degrees in medai studies or football studies then?

    I do think there are far too many 'noddy' courses and I think University is not for everyone. There should be far more industrial and commercial as well as technical apprenticeships so that young peopel have a proper choice and don't just drift into University doing something that is useless.

    Fees? I think people studying to be Doctors, Teachers and Business leaders and other things that will be useful to society should be subsidised but those signed up for David Beckham Studies or Klingon should pay through the nose.
    (AKA HRH_MUngo)
    Member #10 of £2 savers club
    Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology: Terry Eagleton
  • tagq2tagq2 Forumite
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    Fees? I think people studying to be Doctors, Teachers and Business leaders and other things that will be useful to society should be subsidised but those signed up for David Beckham Studies or Klingon should pay through the nose.

    I certainly see your argument, but what counts as "useful"?

    My academic qualifications are primarily in mathematics. They lean toward the pure side and include a dose of history/philosophy of mathematics. If we go to the Greek argument, philosophy and mathematics are essential for everyone who wants to achieve a higher understanding of the world - so they're an essential foundation for any intellectual pursuit right up to leadership of a nation.

    But if we look at the modern approach of increased specialisation, it might be argued that I was wasting society's money as what I studied was far too vague to have direct applicability. Hardy famously celebrated inapplicability - what would today's beancounter say about this? Should the more recently discovered relevance of number theory to cryptography (whence national security and war) change our attitude toward his work?

    And perhaps I could have exploited my numeracy to go into casino banking - not sure how much of society I'd have helped then :D.

    I don't have a proper answer but I think the solution lies somewhere in making sure that university courses, however they specialise, are thoroughly challenging to the mind. But that goal is damn hard to measure and standards agencies tend to waste educators' time with lowest common denominator rules which ultimately reduce standards. It gets even worse when universities are measured by their ability to reach the goals their administrators have set and are funded per bum remaining on seat: could there be a better incentive to set your standards as low as possible? Let's give control back to academics who have a track record of excellence in their field.

    Yeah, I know we've been going the other way since the '80s and I'm just rambling.
  • The total number of applicants for courses with a 15 October deadline has fallen by 0.8%. (Source UCASMedia.com)
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