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Should university be open to everyone? watch

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    (Original post by Kallisto)
    Your question to your essay is not really clear and thus irritating.
    That essay question is perfectly clear.

    If you (or the OP) think one should attain a certain academic standard to enter, then your answer is "No, because...".

    The challenge would be answering it if you think the answer is "Yes".

    The purpose is to make you think of objections and then provide arguments that back up those objections.

    You might say no to:
    - People with no English skills because they'd learn nothing.
    - People with learning disabilities unless there are suitable facilities in place suitable for their particular condition.
    - People who cannot get funding because it is not fair on everyone else.
    - People in prison (the lifers doing Open University degrees can only do modules approved by the Ministry of Justice).
    - People who are not on a visa that will allow them to stay long enough to complete the course.
    - People who have previously been expelled from academia.
    - People with a deteriorating mental health condition like dementia.
    - People previously found guilty of perjury, cheating or plagiarism.
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    Incidentally, the Open University used to do much of its teaching on TV and radio and many of the text books could be got from the public library. It was possible to study a lot of course content without every paying a penny or attending a lecture.

    That was university-level educational material being made openly and freely available to everyone who had the ability to watch, hear or read the material they were interested in. I thought that was a good thing.
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    (Original post by Simes)
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    Fine. If I have any arguments for or against it, I will be back. Currently, I would tend to 'no'.
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    (Original post by Simes)
    Incidentally, the Open University used to do much of its teaching on TV and radio and many of the text books could be got from the public library. It was possible to study a lot of course content without every paying a penny or attending a lecture.

    That was university-level educational material being made openly and freely available to everyone who had the ability to watch, hear or read the material they were interested in. I thought that was a good thing.
    It's crazy that the OU now charge £5k per year, the same as a HND or a foundation degree at a bricks and mortar college.
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    (Original post by Tash28)
    Thank you for your answer, I completely agree with you so I am struggling to see the other side of the argument which I must also write about. I also don't see why the government should fund every single student wanting to go to university when it is not necessary.
    Well I'd say that the government shouldn't offer financial support to all students who want to go to University, only those that want to study a worthwhile degree, however if you think about it they are in a situation where they either have to support every student or no students, because if they ever tried to be selective over who got funding or remove funding entirely they'd spend the rest of their time in power being accused of being incredibly biased against students from poorer backgrounds.

    I'd say that the other side of the argument is that University on the whole produces a better educated populace (although personally I think that massive numbers of students graduate from University without having actually been educated at all!). Then a better educated populace will benefit the country because there are more people who can work in areas that are important to the country (which is true, but only those students who do a relevant subject at University, not true for the hundreds of thousands doing pointless degrees). Going further forwards you'll have this better educated populace having kids who are encouraged to stay in education because in theory University graduates should place a high importance on education, and so they're going to pass those values on to their kids (although this will do nothing but continue the cycle of people going to University for the sake of going to University rather than to do a worthwhile degree).

    Have fun writing this essay, especially given that it's an area where there is essentially only one right answer!
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    (Original post by mackemforever)
    Have fun writing this essay, especially given that it's an area where there is essentially only one right answer!
    True, at one time in this country only the wealthy and non-working classes could go to university, so that was the right answer.

    And at one time anyone who could achieve the required academic standard would get a grant to fund them through university, so that was the right answer.

    Now anyone who is eligible for shed-loads of debt can go to university, so that is the right answer.

    In at least four European countries, university is free, so that is the right answer.
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    (Original post by Simes)
    True, at one time in this country only the wealthy and non-working classes could go to university, so that was the right answer.

    And at one time anyone who could achieve the required academic standard would get a grant to fund them through university, so that was the right answer.

    Now anyone who is eligible for shed-loads of debt can go to university, so that is the right answer.

    In at least four European countries, university is free, so that is the right answer.
    Except that in countries with free University all that is doing is continuing to expand the culture of "you must go to University to be successful" instead of encouraging people who are not suited to University, or are not going into a highly academic field of work, to go straight into the workplace or some form of vocational training.

    My whole point is that the right thing to do is anything which works towards ending that culture.
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    (Original post by mackemforever)
    Except that in countries with free University all that is doing is continuing to expand the culture of "you must go to University to be successful" instead of encouraging people who are not suited to University, or are not going into a highly academic field of work, to go straight into the workplace or some form of vocational training.

    My whole point is that the right thing to do is anything which works towards ending that culture.
    Is it that you feel it is right to prevent some people from furthering their own education, perhaps because they want to better themselves or because their circumstances or attitude have changed?

    Or are you more concerned about keeping the competition down and making it easier for yourself?

    Your view would have seen the 11+ still being in place and people starting work when they failed it.
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    (Original post by mackemforever)
    Except that in countries with free University all that is doing is continuing to expand the culture of "you must go to University to be successful" instead of encouraging people who are not suited to University, or are not going into a highly academic field of work, to go straight into the workplace or some form of vocational training.

    My whole point is that the right thing to do is anything which works towards ending that culture.
    Participation in countries where HE is free is generally lower than in other countries. Universities that are forced (as in Switzerland) to take any students from that country with secondary school passes simply manage demand by failing a large number of students in their first year.
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    (Original post by Simes)
    Is it that you feel it is right to prevent some people from furthering their own education, perhaps because they want to better themselves or because their circumstances or attitude have changed?

    Or are you more concerned about keeping the competition down and making it easier for yourself?

    Your view would have seen the 11+ still being in place and people starting work when they failed it.
    I think that we need to stop pretending that University is for everyone. There have been multiple studies done into whether or not graduates go from University straight into a field that is relevant to their degree, and every single time it's done they find that less than 50% of students end up working a job that is related to their degree subject.

    Spend a day looking through job sites for "low skilled" jobs and you'll see things like coffee shops putting a degree as a requirement, there are bars and clubs near me that was advertising recently for bar staff and they put a degree as a requirement on the advert, my local gym was looking for a receptionist and put a degree as a requirement on the advert. There are huge numbers of jobs that are using "has a degree" as a requirement for applicants where there is absolutely no need, where the kind of people who are applying for that kind of job are the exact same people who would have been applying for that kind of job even if they hadn't gone to University.

    If you are not planning on going into a field of work that is directly related to your degree, then your degree is worthless. If you do not spend those 3/4 years at University acquiring knowledge or skills that are useful in your chosen field then your degree is worthless. The only value that your degree has is that it allows you to apply for jobs that use "has a degree" as a requirement, and my point is that if those jobs didn't have that requirement, and we didn't encourage everybody to go to University, then it would be the exact same group of people taking those jobs, they would start at the exact same point and their career progression would be exactly the same.

    And no, I don't think that education should be withheld from people, I think that anybody should be able to study whatever they like, but that a conventional University is the wrong option for a lot of people. If you want to do a degree in something that is an interest, rather than a degree which will lead to a job in that field, then great, you can use this fantastic institution we have called the Open University to pursue your interest in that hobby alongside working a job and being a productive member of society. What you shouldn't be doing is taking up massive amounts of taxpayer money to spend 3 years pursuing that hobby.

    Now to address your two final, utterly ridiculous points.

    1) I'm studying Engineering, in my final year and well on course to graduate with a 1st. Trust me, I'm not worried about competition, especially not from people studying the kind of degree that I believe should be scrapped.

    2) Of course I don't think people should be kicked out of education at a young age. Everybody should stay in school until they are 16, and if they choose to leave at that point that's fine, they should have a massive range of vocational training available to them, same for people that choose to do A levels but are not suitable for University, the job market for "low skilled" jobs should be open to people that leave school at that point and once again they should have a wide range of vocational training available.

    The fact of the matter is that not everybody is cut out for University, not every degree is valuable, and we should stop bloody telling kids that they are.
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    (Original post by mackemforever)
    I think that we need to stop pretending that University is for everyone. There have been multiple studies done into whether or not graduates go from University straight into a field that is relevant to their degree, and every single time it's done they find that less than 50% of students end up working a job that is related to their degree subject.
    Indeed, many roles just want someone of that level of ability but do not care what the subject was. That does not make their degree worthless.

    Getting a job is not the only reason for getting an education.

    (Original post by mackemforever)
    Spend a day looking through job sites for "low skilled" jobs and you'll see things like coffee shops putting a degree as a requirement, there are bars and clubs near me that was advertising recently for bar staff and they put a degree as a requirement on the advert, my local gym was looking for a receptionist and put a degree as a requirement on the advert.
    That's merely a reflection of the bar being lowered. When there are 400 applicants for a job the recruiter needs to find quick ways of shortlisting; they will choose degree-level applicants if they are available and have applied. Without the degrees, shortlisting would be harder.

    (Original post by mackemforever)
    There are huge numbers of jobs that are using "has a degree" as a requirement for applicants where there is absolutely no need, where the kind of people who are applying for that kind of job are the exact same people who would have been applying for that kind of job even if they hadn't gone to University.
    But maybe they want to make a career from it rather than just a job and this is their way in.

    (Original post by mackemforever)
    If you are not planning on going into a field of work that is directly related to your degree, then your degree is worthless.
    I disagree. Getting a degree demonstrates a whole variety of skills other than learning the course material.

    (Original post by mackemforever)
    If you want to do a degree in something that is an interest, rather than a degree which will lead to a job in that field, then great, you can use this fantastic institution we have called the Open University to pursue your interest in that hobby
    Woah, hold that right there. Are you really saying an OU degree is only fit for following a hobby?

    (Original post by mackemforever)
    Now to address your two final, utterly ridiculous points.
    I thought I'd hit a nerve. :-)

    (Original post by mackemforever)
    1) I'm studying Engineering, in my final year and well on course to graduate with a 1st.
    Yep. Elitist. Thought so.

    Presumably all non-STEM degrees should be scrapped, too?

    Have you read Brave New World? You'd love it.
 
 
 
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