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Why not cut university places instead of raising fees? Watch

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    (Original post by chlobofro)
    If someone wants to do a degree for the sheer interest.. why shouldn't they?
    Thats a bit like me asking the government to pay for me to go bungee jumping
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    (Original post by Anon1993)
    Some of the 'mickey mouse' degrees result in people having spent 2/3 years in uni getting a degree completely irrelevant to the job they get, and not being qualified in anything useful. Vocational training and apprenticeships may be of more help, and also would mean people don't rack up lots of debt due to uni years. This would result in a positive contribution to the economy.
    Not saying I agree with the OP, but just saying the argument is slightly more complex than that.
    I never intended for it to come across as simple as that.
    I would propose to you though that take a respected degree for example History, I have a friend who has done this and has now gone into accounting, completely irrelevant? A degree like said above does not give you skills for a specific job. Yes, the encouragement of apprenticeships will be helpful and I believe they are being, but apprenticeships aren't going to be adopted by everyone.
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    (Original post by michael321)
    Well they would say all that. But everything mentioned could be learned on the job. See a couple of posts above for the wiki article on academic inflation, but here's a quote:
    They can't lie sure they can broadcast but I've seen enough bs adverts for uni courses to be able to tell if It's genuine or not, the course at the uni linked is genuine.

    Very few employers will give the range of .experience offered at that course. Why would they send them to their local rivals to learn? Yet every company has its own strengths and weaknesses so to be able to get experience from different firms particularly at an early stage where habits haven't formed would be very useful. Moreover the chance to extend that study abroad again very few firms would offer, and the level of new knowledge would put the student in a better position to be innovative and unique should the opportunity arise to later open up ones own company.

    You need to realise that we compete in a global market, thus the more skills, experience and knowledge we can give to our own workers , the more competitive we become as a nation
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    (Original post by hypocriticaljap)
    OP You are a buffoon.
    The government want more people to go to university. Browne predicated his reforms on a 10% increase in student numbers. The UK is rapidly plummeting down the list of developed countries in the number of graduates produced each year. It is because they perceive a need for more graduates that they are changing the funding because the tax payer couldn't sustain the required increase in numbers under the current funding regime. Who the hell decides what degrees are most economically beneficial? More arts graduates are employed each year than science graduates.
    We don't need a bunch of crappy vocational degrees. A degree does not automatically develop your skills hugely, or make you far more employable. If the UK wants to up its performance in league tables, it should focus on improving school education, with much more setting by ability, it should bring in far more apprenticeships, it should scrap pointless degrees, and it should make all good degrees at good institutions (not just science degrees) free for all, or at least no more expensive than current levels. Increasing the number of graduates alone will not improve things, it just looks good for statistics. If you look behind the figures, at countries like Finland, with high rates of degree-level education, you find that the degrees are mainly pretty good ones, because people have received excellent school educations, and are brought up by parents with a good work ethic, which makes them motivated and bright enough to go to uni, and thus does not devalue degrees.

    "the number of graduates produced each year" is just a meaningless statistic that Labour sought to exploit. And it's easy to determine what degrees are most economically beneficial. Just look at employment stats and wage rates for graduates.

    I put it to you that you are in fact the buffoon for swallowing Labour's soundbites about how wonderful higher education is, even if it is of substandard quality.
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    (Original post by michael321)
    Am I the only one who thinks this is a good idea? I believe in free or very cheap university education for all those, of sufficient intelligence, who wish to do a degree which will benefit them, and, indirectly, society. But I don't think the taxpayer should foot the bill for thousands of non-degrees which do little to improve people's opportunities and have no tangible benefit for society. Before Labour last came to power, there were few problems with university funding, because not so many people went to uni. The target of sending 50% of people to university is ridiculous and unnecessary. Degree level education should be something for those who really need it for their vocation, or are studying something which will have a definite benefit to them and society.

    We should be open minded about new universities and degrees, and be prepared to fund those which are very rigerous and respectable, but many useless degrees at bad institutions should not be funded by the taxpayer. Those attending them would be better off with a job, and some on task training, than with £15k of debt. Yet it seems this idea has become taboo nowadays, and we must all subscribe to the idea that 50% of people are bright and motivated enough to merit a degree level education at the taxpayer's expense.

    Thoughts? Please try to keep it to decent arguments, back up your points etc.
    Agree 100%. I made this point myself in another thread, and have seen many other people criticising the 'Mickey Mouse' degrees. People react pretty angrily, yet clearly 50% of the general public aren't the university type. Why we're trying to convince everyone that yes everyone can go to university I don't know because we're overselling the value of certain degrees and institutions which is actually kind of mean. So many people from my Sixth Form who were the party-animal types in High school, hardly in top sets and not acedemic in the slightest, are all off to ex-polytechnics paying their tuition fees and accomodation for a degree in 'Sociology' or whatever.

    It's too late to read 3 pages of posts so I just wanted to show my agreement, since theres probably all the common "What gives you the right to decide what people want to do with their lifes" and "Media Studies IS usefull in society!" posts. Surely Media studies can be better learnt as an apprentice or through some other vocational method. Universities should be for the top students and for acedemic subjects. Sounds pretty elitist of me, but people who have an empty timetable and still miss their only morning lecture of the week because they were out partying it up till 3am each and every weekday annoy me.

    I leave you with a comment from my friend, giving this from Labours point of view:
    "Yes, we're going to make Britian more educated and impressive by getting more graduates, we aim to send 50% of people to university. But oh wait! 50% of people aren't smart enough to do degrees. We'll have to invent some degrees for those people to do."
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    (Original post by SPMS)
    I never intended for it to come across as simple as that.
    I would propose to you though that take a respected degree for example History, I have a friend who has done this and has now gone into accounting, completely irrelevant? A degree like said above does not give you skills for a specific job. Yes, the encouragement of apprenticeships will be helpful and I believe they are being, but apprenticeships aren't going to be adopted by everyone.
    apprenticeships would not be adopted by all, but that isn't the plan anyway. An apprenticeship should be undertaken only when it has can help a person to learn through experience and give them the skills needed for a career. In fact, that is what a university degree should also do - but not all of them fit this of criteria, and so this is where the apprenticeship comes in. Therefore it could be beneficial to cut some of the non-academic degrees, such as 'baking technology' etc, which cost the taxpayer money, and use this money to set up vocational training schemes for those less suited to uni degrees.
    The difference in your example is that history is deemed to be a challenging and academic degree which cannot be learned in the work place, but needs to be studied. Some degrees lack these qualities, and so people are better off learning the skills they need in the work place.
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    (Original post by Complex Simplicity)
    They can't lie sure they can broadcast but I've seen enough bs adverts for uni courses to be able to tell if It's genuine or not, the course at the uni linked is genuine.

    Very few employers will give the range of .experience offered at that course. Why would they send them to their local rivals to learn? Yet every company has its own strengths and weaknesses so to be able to get experience from different firms particularly at an early stage where habits haven't formed would be very useful. Moreover the chance to extend that study abroad again very few firms would offer, and the level of new knowledge would put the student in a better position to be innovative and unique should the opportunity arise to later open up ones own company.

    You need to realise that we compete in a global market, thus the more skills, experience and knowledge we can give to our own workers , the more competitive we become as a nation
    I do understand the need for competativeness. But too often this comes in the form of meaningless statistics instead of real, economic truth, and there is always a tradeoff between cost and benefit. If Joe Bloggs goes to do a degree in metalworking at Sheffield Hallam, he comes out in two/three years about £15k in debt (atm), with the taxpayer worse off too, and he has a pretty decent knowledge of metalworking (though this is slightly dubious, due to the ratio of teachers:students and other problems like that).

    Let's take scenario two: Jack Bloggs goes and does an apprenticeship with a metalworking firm, maybe after a three month course to get the basics (costing, by way of example, £1000). After a year or so, he's in pretty much the same situation as Joe Bloggs, maybe a rung below him on the metalworking chain of command, but then he has more time to work his way up it, cause he didn't go to uni. People will always learn quicker on the job, and they'll often learn better, too, as their employer has a vested interest in their doing well and making money (unis have an interest too, but this is less pronounced).

    I would argue that there is very little difference in the end outcomes of the case of Joe and Jack, except that Joe has £15k debt, and he's cost the taxpayer a lot too.

    The only "benefit" derived from more degrees for low-skilled jobs is that degrees allow more discrimination. But this is ultimately a very bad thing, which forces everyone down the useless uni route.

    Take another example. James and Michael want to become surfing instructors. Nowadays, lots of people have surf studies degrees (another genuine course). Because James has one, he gets the job (because lots of people apply, and it's easier to only interview/test the ones with some proven experience). The surf-school doesn't necessarily get the best candidate - Michael has been surfing since he was ten, he knows the sport well and he has natural charisma; but because of the need for a degree, he doesn't get a chance. So he goes away, gets a degree, and later is successful, but now owes £15k.

    The problem is that this creates a culture where everyone knows that, to become a surf instructor, you have to have a degree. So everyone takes one, gets £15k in debt and costs the taxpayer, and not everyone gets a job at the end. So you're left with loads of unemployed, indebted people, as opposed to a load of unemployed people who aren't in debt (the situation w/o degrees). The only benefit derived from the massive pile of collective debt is a slightly easier, but not necessarily any better, choice of candidate for the employer. And that is the evil of academic inflation.
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    (Original post by SPMS)
    Basic Economics really.
    The idea is to increase Unviersity places, to increase our skill based economy, to hence further grow our economy further, we are far behind other countries in the terms of graduates it produces.
    You are saying reduce that skill base, resulting in slower growth of the economy.
    I agree that cutting places is not the answer and I support the new system that is being proposed.
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    (Original post by michael321)
    I do understand the need for competativeness. But too often this comes in the form of meaningless statistics instead of real, economic truth, and there is always a tradeoff between cost and benefit. If Joe Bloggs goes to do a degree in metalworking at Sheffield Hallam, he comes out in two/three years about £15k in debt (atm), with the taxpayer worse off too, and he has a pretty decent knowledge of metalworking (though this is slightly dubious, due to the ratio of teachers:students and other problems like that).

    Let's take scenario two: Jack Bloggs goes and does an apprenticeship with a metalworking firm, maybe after a three month course to get the basics (costing, by way of example, £1000). After a year or so, he's in pretty much the same situation as Joe Bloggs, maybe a rung below him on the metalworking chain of command, but then he has more time to work his way up it, cause he didn't go to uni. People will always learn quicker on the job, and they'll often learn better, too, as their employer has a vested interest in their doing well and making money (unis have an interest too, but this is less pronounced).

    I would argue that there is very little difference in the end outcomes of the case of Joe and Jack, except that Joe has £15k debt, and he's cost the taxpayer a lot too.

    The only "benefit" derived from more degrees for low-skilled jobs is that degrees allow more discrimination. But this is ultimately a very bad thing, which forces everyone down the useless uni route.

    Take another example. James and Michael want to become surfing instructors. Nowadays, lots of people have surf studies degrees (another genuine course). Because James has one, he gets the job (because lots of people apply, and it's easier to only interview/test the ones with some proven experience). The surf-school doesn't necessarily get the best candidate - Michael has been surfing since he was ten, he knows the sport well and he has natural charisma; but because of the need for a degree, he doesn't get a chance. So he goes away, gets a degree, and later is successful, but now owes £15k.

    The problem is that this creates a culture where everyone knows that, to become a surf instructor, you have to have a degree. So everyone takes one, gets £15k in debt and costs the taxpayer, and not everyone gets a job at the end. So you're left with loads of unemployed, indebted people, as opposed to a load of unemployed people who aren't in debt (the situation w/o degrees). The only benefit derived from the massive pile of collective debt is a slightly easier, but not necessarily any better, choice of candidate for the employer. And that is the evil of academic inflation.
    You raise.some good points particularly towards the end. What I would say is that each course at each university should be analysed based on its merits and what it can offer a potential applicant. The course at Sheffield Hallam I believed would add significant value to its students compared with an apprentice in the same field. I do acknowledge that this may not be the case with other courses. I would rather students were given adequate information to make this analysis rather than some government official scrapping good courses they're highly ignorant about based solely on misplaced preconceptions and prejudices. I know for a fact for example that some of the ex polys have the best teaching courses yet a gov minister claims that only oxford grads with 2.1s should become teachers. I do not want ignorant people like that deciding which courses should be scrapped. That should be the market's job.

    I think that students should decide and no one else. They should be given all the resources required to make an informed decision. This is why I am in full support of the governments attempt to get universities to all publish their employment figures for each course
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    In general, I completely agree with the OP.
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    Surely a lot of the people posting things like "but it benefits the economy to have more highly-skilled workers!!1" must be just starting their university lives and not graduates or on the cusp of graduation? When everyone has a degree it becomes worthless to have one.

    Yes, we need skilled workers, but more university places simply doesn't produce this. It's a bit like saying that more A* grades mean a more educated populace - it's just academic inflation.

    I would love to see free higher education for all, but it would be impossible to provide this for all 120-odd universities in the UK. We need to tier higher education into providing degrees, then a step below that something like 'higher education certificates', so that employers can distinguish in the sea of graduates.
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    (Original post by michael321)
    Actually it's competative careers like journalism where the specific degrees are the most useless, because people with vocational degrees (like journalism) from lower grade unis are competing with those from better unis with degrees in stuff like English Lit. Thus the specific degree would not qualify you that well, and it would waste loads of money, and be less challenging than something like Eng Lit.

    The problem is that degrees are becoming more necessary for low grade jobs like the aformentioned metalworking, which is a pity, because it just leads to huge levels of needless debt for no gain.

    As I said before, it's not just up to them, because the govt subsidises uni education, particularly for the poorest. And high personal debt levels are economically harmful.

    Also I hate the use of the word toff. It's so representative of double standards - if someone from a working class background was in government and someone called them a chav, that wouldn't go down well, so why should toff?

    OH I love TSR.
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    (Original post by chlobofro)
    If someone wants to do a degree for the sheer interest.. why shouldn't they?
    They should. But why should tax payers fund it?

    If someone wants to do a 'media studies' degree or 'surfing business' degree, imo, they can fund that themselves.
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    (Original post by Complex Simplicity)
    You raise.some good points particularly towards the end. What I would say is that each course at each university should be analysed based on its merits and what it can offer a potential applicant. The course at Sheffield Hallam I believed would add significant value to its students compared with an apprentice in the same field. I do acknowledge that this may not be the case with other courses. I would rather students were given adequate information to make this analysis rather than some government official scrapping good courses they're highly ignorant about based solely on misplaced preconceptions and prejudices. I know for a fact for example that some of the ex polys have the best teaching courses yet a gov minister claims that only oxford grads with 2.1s should become teachers. I do not want ignorant people like that deciding which courses should be scrapped. That should be the market's job.

    I think that students should decide and no one else. They should be given all the resources required to make an informed decision. This is why I am in full support of the governments attempt to get universities to all publish their employment figures for each course
    Agree with everything. There's quite a few 'lower' universities that offer specific respectable degrees. Even if it's not all their departments.

    IMO, government should not fund degrees where there is less than 40% 'graduate perspectives' - aka, less than 40% come out with a job or have gone into more education within a period of time.
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    Yes, cut uni places (minimum grades 3Bs, not even? B is average, uni should be more than average), shut down unis in bottom 70-100 ranking places, cut mickey mouse degrees...it's pretty obvious, but there would be mass outrage if any of that happened- 'everyone should have a chance' etc etc.
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    More money.
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      Why not do what the Lib Dems say they've always wanted to do, and do both.
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        (Original post by chlobofro)
        If someone wants to do a degree for the sheer interest.. why shouldn't they?
        Well it must have some economic value to it. People should not be studying **** that would just benefit themselves.

        If you want to do that, I suggest the Open University.
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          (Original post by SPMS)
          Of course more are useful than others. I see what you are saying but as an economy a media graduate is still considered more 'skilled' than that of someone who hasn't gone to university. This is where it gets subjective however, I am just stating one of the ideas behind the increased university fees.
          Not necessarily. There have been reports where university graduates (not necessarily those who did Media) do not even have the basic literacy and numeracy skills. Have a university degree does not necessarily make you anymore skilled - and judging from the course content of many Media degrees, I would be inclined to say that that is true.

          I have no sympathy for people want to do degrees like Media and Film and cannot afford to so (technically this is not even true - everyone can, get your facts right).

          Personally, I don't have a problem with the increased university fees and the reasoning that they have, in fact I think it is very sound economically but like you this is what I have an issue with the type of degree and how skilled it makes you. Obviously very subjective, but certainly we need to encourage the core degrees of sciences etc. however I wouldn't completely get rid of the likes of media degrees (entertainment for us one of our major exports for the UK) but we need to vastly reduce the amount of places that are on offer. I would explain the reasons for the reducing of these degrees but you can get a very good idea, as I believe you have similar ideas to my own.
          Fair enough reducing Media places - so why isn't this happening?
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            (Original post by chlobofro)
            I'd pay for it, I just don't believe in cutting courses because they want more "vocational" courses out of University. A high majority of vocational courses need to be studied to degree level to get the sufficient jobs.
            :lolwut:

            Examples?

            (Please do not count Engineering and Medicine as they command high academic standards).
           
           
           
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