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Should ex-polytechnics be renamed or abolished? Watch

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    Before you assume i'm saying "lets close them all down" - i'm not.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...ifferentiation

    In modern day Britain, the value of a degree is becoming ever more meaningless. People simply don't respect them anymore and view them as an easy-ride to avoid working for 3 years. At least that's what shelfstackers I currently work with view them as.

    And who can blame them? There's people I know who've worked 0% of the time at A-level, yet go off to the University of Easy Access to get a degree. They don't care about their subject, and how can they when these universities offer a degree in flipping Carpet Studies?

    I liked the pre-1992 system. Too many institutions now have the label 'university' which degrades the image of real, productive universities. By real, productive universities, I mean (for the majority) the Russell Group. They contribute in research.

    So, should ex-polytechnics and newer institutes be renamed, and not be able to award 'degrees'? Is it fair that they should award diplomas or something like that? Because at the rate we're going a boy called Dudley will be able to tell everyone "I went to university and got a degree!!" despite getting UUU at A-level.

    Discuss.
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    I don't know what's more shameful, that I actually googled Carpet Studies, or that fact that it exists ...
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    (Original post by ragex)
    Before you assume i'm saying "lets close them all down" - i'm not.

    In modern day Britain, the value of a degree is becoming ever more meaningless. People simply don't respect them anymore and view them as an easy-ride to avoid working for 3 years. At least that's what shelfstackers I currently work with view them as.

    And who can blame them? There's people I know who've worked 0% of the time at A-level, yet go off to the University of Easy Access to get a degree. They don't care about their subject, and how can they when these universities offer a degree in flipping Carpet Studies?

    I liked the pre-1992 system. Too many institutions now have the label 'university' which degrades the image of real, productive universities. By real, productive universities, I mean (for the majority) the Russell Group. They contribute in research.

    So, should ex-polytechnics and newer institutes be renamed, and not be able to award 'degrees'? Is it fair that they should award diplomas or something like that? Because at the rate we're going a boy called Dudley will be able to tell everyone "I went to university and got a degree!!" despite getting UUU at A-level.

    Discuss.
    No. This purist, elitist view as what qualifies as academia should be abolished, frankly. Ex-polys conduct a lot of research. What's devalued degrees is the notion that more and more people should go to university and do oversubscribed courses where the career prospects are very poor, not the fact that polytechnics were given university status.
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    I think it evens out fairly well - any degree that genuinely isn't 'worth' as much will end up not being valued by the kind of employers who thirty years ago would have wanted applicants with a degree. Equally, some new good universities might grow up and become established - every university has to start somewhere.

    The competitive part of me wants to agree with you, but I don't mind too much, so long as it doesn't start being detrimental to the core of people who actually want to be academics, doctors or anything else you need a degree for. University is a great place to broaden your mind and become a stronger person before entering 'the real world', and personally I love the fact that we live in a society where so many people can go.

    I think good research universities do need to protect their 'brand' though. At the moment I think it's fairly protected.
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    No. This purist, elitist view as what qualifies as academia should be abolished, frankly. Ex-polys conduct a lot of research. What's devalued degrees is the notion that more and more people should go to university and do oversubscribed courses where the career prospects are very poor, not the fact that polytechnics were given university status.
    this
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    No. This purist, elitist view as what qualifies as academia should be abolished, frankly. Ex-polys conduct a lot of research. What's devalued degrees is the notion that more and more people should go to university and do oversubscribed courses where the career prospects are very poor, not the fact that polytechnics were given university status.
    £10 says you attend an ex-poly.
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    University should be about learning things, not making people respect you.

    I'm studying physics because I love physics and want to learn about it. I honestly couldn't care less what other people think of me for that, because I'll have learnt about things I'm interested in and opened the doors to careers I'll enjoy.

    And the ability to learn things one cares about should be available to everybody, which means we need a lot of universities. And if a lot of people get degrees, that's a good thing, because it means the population is better-educated.
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    (Original post by TheCount.)
    I made a bet with myself. I won. You attend an ex-poly.
    Your point? My "bull**** worthless ex-poly degree" helped me bag a job with arguably the top company in my industry.
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    (Original post by tjf8)
    I don't know why this post is getting negged to be honest – most of the points you raise I would strongly agree with.
    I don't think, however, that we should rename the polytechnics. What we need to do is cut out all the nonsense degrees that just cost money and have no practical value whatsoever: these range from the patently absurd (David Beckham studies, I **** you not) to the unnecessary (hairdressing and such vocational courses).
    University should be a place for learning; it is higher education after all. The whole Labour party concept of 'university should be for everyone' is poisonous and devalues British degrees and British higher learning institutions.
    I know several people at Russell group universities who are just their for the ride and the university life. It is a university wide problem, not just ex-poly students.

    In many cases ex-polys are better than pre-1992 universities. Jordanstown Polytechnic was a much better institution that University of Ulster, hence the merge. The thing is the ex-polys would have specialised in something and their excellence in these specialisations continues and as mentioned, the teaching staff usually have much better industry links.


    David Beckham studies was a module, not a degree. As with most of the 'degrees' people are naming to ridicule ex-polys.
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    Can someone explain what ex-poly means? I'm clueless.
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    (Original post by Kateislate)
    Can someone explain what ex-poly means? I'm clueless.
    Before '92 (I think? Some time around then), polytechnics and universities were distinct, and only universities could award degrees. Then polytechnics were all turned into universities, and they're generally considered less prestigious than traditional universities.
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    Some ex-polys are perfectly fine universities, past the top 20 or so it doesn't matter where you went to uni that much. To say all ex-poly degrees are worthless or devalued is unfair. Are you saying a medicine degree from Plymouth is devalued as Plymouth is an ex-poly? (It's not btw)

    The thing that needs to be done is educating people about alternatives to uni, it's pointless going to uni doing a course you don't particularly like, with no idea of career ideas and getting a 3rd. This seems to happen a lot with geography/history, meaning those who genuinely want to do the course surrounded by those who have no idea what they want to do. Devaluing the degree itself.
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    I disagree with everything in the article. I don't think there is some imminent mass division or collision from ex-Poly's and Redbrick's/Russell's... There's always been a bit of banter between them but I certainly wouldn't say the situation is worsening. I've no idea what the author of the article has based his views on. But I don't buy it.

    It's quite accepted that some 'silly unis' offer 'silly degrees'. The joke is not on the University, the joke is on the student who enrolled. Sure 'anyone' can go to uni and get 'a degree.' But when they come out with poorly classified degrees in subjects such as Hospitality & Catering, Media Studies, Animal Care, Equine Whispering etc... it takes NOTHING away from those who have studied something such as, but certainly not limited to, Art/English/History/Sciences/Engineering/Law/Medicine etc...

    If YOU choose to do a mickey mouse degree then YOU've sealed YOUR own fait. But do NOT mistake this for taking anything away from a hardworking student, with a good degree, from a good University.

    'Degrees' are not becoming 'useless'. 'Useless Degrees' are useless, always have been, always will be.

    I went to an ex-Poly, Nottingham Trent, for my undergraduate degree and studied Law. It wasn't 'easy' by any means at all. My mum passed away just before my A Levels so I was limited as to where would accept me with the grades I attained. I graduated and decided to do a masters for the love and enjoyment of (Employment) Law and I chose Middlesex University. Again, not a 'brilliant' Uni by any means but it ticked all the boxes for me personally. I have no doubt in my mind what so ever that I could've gone to a better University for my masters, but that wouldn't necessarily make it any better for me as a person.

    I just cannot disagree more with the authors POV. (Not to be confused with the OP's POV)




    For what it counts, my brother went to Trent too and his starting salary as a graduate is £40k p/a with up to £10k bonus p/a (of which he's attained in every review). He worked his ****ing socks off at uni and he does so in his job. He's a very talented person, I'm not at all jealous of him, but I am envious of him. He's in a better position than 'most graduates' from any of the top 20 Unis. But he's earned it. Anyone who says that you can't achieve if you graduate from an ex-Poly's is simply speaking bull****.
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    Too many people are being funnelled down the route of university at the moment. While everyone should have the opportunity of trying to go university, the reality remains that the current economic situation doesn't require 50% of the population to go to university (and not everyone is even suitable for it), instead apprenticeships and direct to work schemes (such as the ones offered by the major accountancy firms) should be de-stigmatized as being below university.

    However the ex-Poly's need not close as many do a large amount of valuable research, but some of the degrees they offer which ultimately have very low job prospects should be shut down (David Beckham studies, event management, etc.)
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    (Original post by ragex)
    Before you assume i'm saying "lets close them all down" - i'm not.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/...ifferentiation

    In modern day Britain, the value of a degree is becoming ever more meaningless. People simply don't respect them anymore and view them as an easy-ride to avoid working for 3 years. At least that's what shelfstackers I currently work with view them as.

    And who can blame them? There's people I know who've worked 0% of the time at A-level, yet go off to the University of Easy Access to get a degree. They don't care about their subject, and how can they when these universities offer a degree in flipping Carpet Studies?

    I liked the pre-1992 system. Too many institutions now have the label 'university' which degrades the image of real, productive universities. By real, productive universities, I mean (for the majority) the Russell Group. They contribute in research.

    So, should ex-polytechnics and newer institutes be renamed, and not be able to award 'degrees'? Is it fair that they should award diplomas or something like that? Because at the rate we're going a boy called Dudley will be able to tell everyone "I went to university and got a degree!!" despite getting UUU at A-level.

    Discuss.
    I don't know why this post is getting negged to be honest – most of the points you raise I would strongly agree with.

    I don't think, however, that we should rename the polytechnics. What we need to do is cut out all the nonsense degrees that just cost money and have no practical value whatsoever: these range from the patently absurd (David Beckham studies, I **** you not) to the unnecessary (hairdressing and such vocational courses).

    University should be a place for learning; it is higher education after all. The whole Labour party concept of 'university should be for everyone' is poisonous and devalues British degrees and British higher learning institutions.
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    I've attended Oxford, Russell Group and ex-poly unis. The only one geared towards both academic learning and preparing students for a useful working life in my field, is the ex-poly. The Russell Group is focussed on preparing undergrads for an academic career which won't be available to the vast majority of their graduates. Oxford was about creating and maintaining a network of people, some of whom could be relied on to become influential and give you a leg up the ladder.

    Research in my Oxford subject has completely fossilised there over the last thirty years. It's taught by the same staff who were teaching me in the early-80s and the only new members of the department are their ex-students. Research at the Russell Group and ex-poly are pretty much on a par in terms of originality and value to the field. The major difference is that the Russell Group uni has far more research funding available. The ex-poly staff spend much more of their time writing grant applications in order to keep their jobs.
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    I've attended Oxford, Russell Group and ex-poly unis. The only one geared towards both academic learning and preparing students for a useful working life in my field, is the ex-poly. The Russell Group is focussed on preparing undergrads for an academic career which won't be available to the vast majority of their graduates. Oxford was about creating and maintaining a network of people, some of whom could be relied on to become influential and give you a leg up the ladder.

    Research in my Oxford subject has completely fossilised there over the last thirty years. It's taught by the same staff who were teaching me in the early-80s and the only new members of the department are their ex-students. Research at the Russell Group and ex-poly are pretty much on a par in terms of originality and value to the field. The major difference is that the Russell Group uni has far more research funding available. The ex-poly staff spend much more of their time writing grant applications in order to keep their jobs.
    Great post, useful insight too.
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    (Original post by ragex)
    In modern day Britain, the value of a degree is becoming ever more meaningless. People simply don't respect them anymore and view them as an easy-ride to avoid working for 3 years.

    At least that's what shelfstackers I currently work with view them as.
    With respect to shelf stackers, why should I (or anyone else) care about what they think about degrees?

    I liked the pre-1992 system. Too many institutions now have the label 'university' which degrades the image of real, productive universities. By real, productive universities, I mean (for the majority) the Russell Group. They contribute in research..
    Why must a university be research intensive in order to be "productive". Is a teaching intensive university not productive, despite it offering valuable courses, many of which might be professional or vocational courses and vital to the economy, and provide excellent levels of teaching?

    Besides, former polytechnics still conduct research. A number of former polytechnics have considerable research strengths, even if they may lack the research income of Russell Group universities (who often, though not always, have medical schools).

    So, should ex-polytechnics and newer institutes be renamed, and not be able to award 'degrees'? Is it fair that they should award diplomas or something like that? Because at the rate we're going a boy called Dudley will be able to tell everyone "I went to university and got a degree!!" despite getting UUU at A-level.

    Discuss.
    But before 1992, students at polytechnics still studied for degrees. The difference being that the degree was awarded by a central body and not the polytechnic. So if you are seeking a return to pre-1992, then we still have this "problem" of too many students studying degrees.

    Moreover, our former polytechnics do offer valuable professional accredited degrees and a diploma isn't sufficient.

    (Original post by TheCount.)
    £10 says you attend an ex-poly.
    I agree, and many others do. Some will be graduates from former polytechnics. Others won't be. The fact that someone is studying at, or a graduate of, a former polytechnic doesn't mean their point is automatically invalid.

    So please be a little more constructive in your contributions.

    (Original post by Rybee)
    It's quite accepted that some 'silly unis' offer 'silly degrees'. The joke is not on the University, the joke is on the student who enrolled. Sure 'anyone' can go to uni and get 'a degree.' But when they come out with poorly classified degrees in subjects such as Hospitality & Catering, Media Studies, Animal Care, Equine Whispering etc... it takes NOTHING away from those who have studied something such as, but certainly not limited to, Art/English/History/Sciences/Engineering/Law/Medicine etc...
    I suspect Equine Whispering doesn't exist. However, Equine Studies does. How is Equine Studies or Animal Behaviour less worthwhile and valuable than Art or English? Also, these are subjects offered at Russell Group universities as much as they are at former polytechnics (I'm aware you don't dispute this second point).
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    (Original post by S1L3NTPR3Y)
    However the ex-Poly's need not close as many do a large amount of valuable research, but some of the degrees they offer which ultimately have very low job prospects should be shut down (David Beckham studies, event management, etc.)
    See below

    (Original post by tjf8)
    I don't think, however, that we should rename the polytechnics. What we need to do is cut out all the nonsense degrees that just cost money and have no practical value whatsoever: these range from the patently absurd (David Beckham studies, I **** you not)
    Putting in bold as people don't seem to realise this: -

    David Beckham studies does not, and never did, exist as a degree.

    If either of you can find me a David Beckham studies degree, or even a module in a degree called "David Beckham studies", I will retract this.

    What you are likely referring to is a single 12 week module offered by Staffordshire university. It was offered to those studying sociology, media studies and sport science, and examined the rise of football from its beginnings to the major sport and the major place it now holds in modern British society. Being a major footballing icon of the late 90s and early 00s (the course was first announced in 2000) David Beckham was used as a case study, but so too were other footballers.

    This is no more "mickey mouse" than a number of other modules I can name that are seen in humanities and social science at a range of universities, including some of our leading institutions.

    (Original post by tjf8)
    to the unnecessary (hairdressing and vocational courses)
    Engineering? Surveying? Architecture? Law? Medicine? Town Planning? Nursing? Occupational Therapy? Speech and Language Therapy?

    What vocational courses, and why shouldn't they be taught at universities?

    University should be a place for learning; it is higher education after all.
    Yes, but one does learn in a vocational degree. Vocational degrees have been offered since the Ancients. Some of the oldest universities in Europe were established to provide what was largely a vocational education.
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    (Original post by River85)
    I suspect Equine Whispering doesn't exist. However, Equine Studies does. How is Equine Studies or Animal Behaviour less worthwhile and valuable than Art or English? Also, these are subjects offered at Russell Group universities as much as they are at former polytechnics (I'm aware you don't dispute this second point).
    Yeah you're right I think I made that last one up...

    But for subjects such as Catering & Hospitality, Animal Care and Media Studies:

    A) What do the majority of graduates go on to do with their degree? How do they put it to use?
    B) What real advantage does a degree in such subject have?
    C) With regards to its financial viability, was it really a good investment?

    I know you could say the same about fine art, classics, archaeology etc... But I think the difference is that the latter study it because they have a real passion for the subject, and they do it for the passion.

    It just absolutely baffles me that there are people out there that think a degree in Media Studies or Catering & Hospitality is a great idea. A degree... An academic degree... I just can't buy into that. You don't need to go to University for that, there are other, more appropriate routes available for that.

    I know you could probably say the same about English or History for example. But they're well respected academic subjects that require a lot of hard work and effort. But Horse Studies, Watching Films and Cookery... Is a degree really necessary...? But as I said, that's the student's own choice and if that's the choice they want to make, then they'll soon realise the result when they graduate.

    What I'm getting at is there are two sets of people. Those who go to University for the right reasons, and those who go to University for the wrong reasons. It is the latter that opt for 'mickey mouse' subjects.
 
 
 
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