Unis Minister accuses unis of 'taking advantage' of students with standard of courses

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Poll: Do you think universities are 'taking advantage' of students with 'softer' degree options?
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StrawberryDreams
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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-53253718

Michelle Donelan, the Universities Minister, has accused universities of recruiting too many students and "dumbing down" courses (considered 'softer' degrees) that don't actually help in career prospects. She questioned the value of these courses, compared with the fees that student have to pay, which can total very large sums of money. She said that "True social mobility is when we put students and their needs and career ambitions first, be that in higher education, further education or apprenticeships,"

She believes that a number of students are not getting good value from their universities, and have been misled by "popular sounding" courses.

However, many people have other thoughts on her statement, including the leader of the UCU Jo Grady, who said that "Instead of making the case for education, the minister appears to be trying to turn some students off university by saying it is expensive and sub-standard."

What do you think?

Have you done a degree where you felt the standard wasn't up to scratch and you've struggled with graduate jobs after, or have you done a course that may be considered to have limited graduate prospects but found that it benefited you in other ways?

Are you considering doing a degree at the moment but unsure about careers afterwards, or choosing it for the enjoyment/interest in the subject and not the career prospects?

Let us know your thoughts!
Last edited by StrawberryDreams; 1 month ago
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PQ
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I think that if she has a problem then she and her government have been in power for over a decade now so why not get on with sorting things out instead of *****ing? It’s not like she’s a local councillor or journalist - she is literally responsible for the university sector.

What a state our government is in :nope:
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TigerRoll
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Yeah it will be a waste of time and money for a lot of students. However, universities are a business and they know their target market and how to advertise. Everyone should put more thought in what they want in the future and what they want to get out of life.
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04MR17
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I think it's up to each applicant to choose a degree with career prospects afterwards in mind.

If the applicant is satisfied that the course will give them what they're looking for in term of outcomes, then I don't see an issue.

We don't often see people complaining on TSR that their degree was a waste of time once they'd done it, so I'm a little puzzled about where this has come from and why the Minister is bringing this up now.
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mnot
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Just seen this, I agree some degrees really arent value for money, I rather suspect:
Its a side effect of a number of changes to the education system. Post 1992, way more choice between fully fledged universities, and way more low-research universities whose revenue is basically entirely undergrad tuition. Introduction of fees and system changes in 1999,2004,2010. No student-number cap and no limit on how fast universities could expand. Government guarantee's to front all the money & students basically have a debt-insurance as they dont have to pay it back if they dont make a higher income means their is no incentive to charge relative degree quality. Additionally schools have been pushing students into these degrees as it boosts their stats and universities pulling students from low-income backgrounds to make their stats looks great.

No party wants to be the one to point it out as they'll be labelled as prioritising privileged rich kids over and limiting opportunities to those who need it most, ultimately the students with all the debt and no careers prospects are worst off because of it.
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Mojmeer
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Humanities, arts, religious stuff, are filled with people that should't be at uni.
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Diplomatic
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(Original post by Mojmeer)
Humanities, arts, religious stuff, are filled with people that should't be at uni.
As are many STEM and LEM degrees.

Plenty of people that don't give a **** about personal development or their courses exist.
Last edited by Diplomatic; 4 weeks ago
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MalcolmX
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this is spot on. there ought to be more degrees offered like medicine, engineering and accounting and less travel and tourism and events management degrees.
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MalcolmX
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(Original post by Mojmeer)
Humanities, arts, religious stuff, are filled with people that should't be at uni.
at lower ranked universities perhaps, but at places like oxford/lse/ucl the majority of students studying 'humanities, arts, religious stuff' are very capable and intelligent students.
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Mojmeer
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(Original post by MalcolmX)
at lower ranked universities perhaps, but at places like oxford/lse/ucl the majority of students studying 'humanities, arts, religious stuff' are very capable and intelligent students.
Well, even at Oxbridge, Humanities Departments serve as participation diploma dispensaries for kids that aren't very clever but happens to be spawns of well connected and rich people.
Look at Boris Johnson. He clearly struggles to string together a really simple sentence. He is not a thinker with a razor sharp mind, yet he attended Eton and Oxford. And for some reason he did not chose to graduate from Engineering, Maths or Law. His participation diploma of choice was degree in Classics.
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MalcolmX
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(Original post by Mojmeer)
Well, even at Oxbridge, Humanities Departments serve as participation diploma dispensaries for kids that aren't very clever but happens to be spawns of well connected and rich people.
Look at Boris Johnson. He clearly struggles to string together a really simple sentence. He is not a thinker with a razor sharp mind, yet he attended Eton and Oxford. And for some reason he did not chose to graduate from Engineering, Maths or Law. His participation diploma of choice was degree in Classics.
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1secondsofvamps
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I agree.
E.g. Courses like Primary Education Studies dont result in people graduating as a qualified teacher so they end up having to do a PGCE on top. Courses like this seems pointless when they could do an actual Primary Education degree that comes with QTS.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Mojmeer)
Well, even at Oxbridge, Humanities Departments serve as participation diploma dispensaries for kids that aren't very clever but happens to be spawns of well connected and rich people.
Kids that aren’t very clever yet somehow manage to get AAA?
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Anonymous1502
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Kids that aren’t very clever yet somehow manage to get AAA?
Being able to afford a lot of tutoring probably helps a lot.
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Emily5243
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Neither of my parents went to university as it was only necessary for certain jobs when they were younger. As time has gone on, more and more jobs require a degree and it doesn't even have to relate to the job you're applying for. One of my dad's bosses was late 20s, had a history degree despite working in a pharmaceutical company and couldn't do the job very well - my dad ended up advising them on literally everything even when they had worked there for a while. But my dad was rejected for these types of jobs due to the fact he didn't have a degree.
It seems as if this is fairly common from my parents' experiences and many people are aware of this so they go to university to give themselves the chance to progress upwards in their chosen field.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Anonymous1502)
Being able to afford a lot of tutoring probably helps a lot.
Do you have evidence for this claim?
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Anonymous1502
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Do you have evidence for this claim?
Yes when I had a tutor who was Oxford educated (4 hours per week) I was able to get from a B grade to an A*. The teacher really matters in my experience few teachers are passionate about their jobs as a result I had to self teach myself a lot and not all students are prepared to do that so the teacher in reality makes all the difference.
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mnot
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(Original post by Mojmeer)
Humanities, arts, religious stuff, are filled with people that should't be at uni.
I really didnt read the comment as being directed at the overwhelming majority of humanities/lib-arts degrees which provide skills the workforce needs. I thought it was more directed at a bachelors of: video-game art, Golf studies, Street-dance from .... Metropolitan Uni.
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04MR17
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(Original post by Anonymous1502)
Yes when I had a tutor who was Oxford educated (4 hours per week) I was able to get from a B grade to an A*. The teacher really matters in my experience few teachers are passionate about their jobs as a result I had to self teach myself a lot and not all students are prepared to do that so the teacher in reality makes all the difference.
So firstly you're basing the claim on the experience of one person (you). Second you highlight the other factor, which is the motivation a student has. If you had the motivation to self teach some of that content why are you giving the tutor the entire credit for your grade increade. Surely a large part of that is down to your willingness to learn and perhaps others would have done better if they had your attitude, irrespective of tutoring.
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xoxAngel_Kxox
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To be honest, I don't think the responsibility for this lies entirely with the universities. I think sixth forms are guilty, too, because all they want to do is push students towards university study to make their stats look better. They push them into applying for degree courses, often with very little guidance, when what they should be doing is talking about what they want to do with that degree afterwards. Have a look at real employment options, stats from the uni and from that particular course, and then make a decision.

Students also have the responsibility to choose their course with care, too. They might think it's a good idea to go off and do media studies (as a completely random example) because they enjoyed it at college, but if that's the only reason they did it, and they didn't put any research into it, they can't then complain when they don't get a job at the end of it.

Students who go to university are adults, and it's up to them to realistically research their options, rather than blindly being pushed through a process that might not actually be right for them.

I was guilty of this. I went to university and did psychology because I liked it at college, and my job is nothing to do with my degree. But I don't mind, because I had the best 3 years of my life, and genuinely wouldn't change that for the world. Others have a different story to tell, of course.
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