Another University failing

That further supports my point that there should be fewer universities with fewer students.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/article/2024/jun/13/i-once-missed-four-weeks-of-one-module-the-uk-students-working-long-hours?CMP=oth_b-aplnews_d-5

These young people are working full-time jobs and trying to do allegedly full-time courses as well. That’s not sustainable. 

If there were fewer students then those remaining could be properly funded so no or minimal term-time work is needed. Terms could even be lengthened to allow degrees to be done in 2 years (better funding would allow more faculty to be hired). 

Hard agree with the previous posters.  The state needs to get a grip of higher education because, like the NHS, it's currently driven by producer interests.

What universities should be doing is making it possible for people to do many degrees part-time at evenings/weekends, as was the case 40 years ago. Rather than this nonsense of having people have to do supposedly full time day time degrees effectively part time.  .

Gotta go with Cryppers on this. I was at uni in 1997 and really grumpy about the Labour posters promising 100s of 1000s more uni spaces. I said back then what Crypto put above. Uni should be for the top 5-10% of the country, fully funded with grants. I probably wouldn’t have qualified but tough.

Instead we have over a third of all children going to uni, often for degrees that won’t help and ending up with huge debt.

I blame Thatcher for snobbishly getting rid of polytechnics which were really useful and making them second rate unis instead,

I thought if you received government loans or assistance then you could only work 20 hours/week.

I didn't have this issue because I was foreign so my visa restricted my work hours.

I don't agree with capping uni spots.  However, I do think we need to teach our kids more financial literacy, and put less emphasis of a university degree like it's some sort of prestigious accomplishment.  

The particularly mad thing about our university system is that kids move to the other side of the country to study at a mediocre institution a subject in most cases is available to study close to home.   In most countries only those going to elite universities or very specialised courses would consider moving to another part of the country to do so,  It is an enormous waste of money and takes up lots of accommodation space that could be used for permanent residents (every city centre is littered with student accommodation blocks)

The particularly mad thing about our university system is that kids move to the other side of the country to study at a mediocre institution a subject in most cases is available to study close to home.   In most countries only those going to elite universities or very specialised courses would consider moving to another part of the country to do so,  It is an enormous waste of money and takes up lots of accommodation space that could be used for permanent residents (every city centre is littered with student accommodation blocks)

never thought I would say this, but wot Guy said.

It's even worse when you factor in the stupidity of the courses. But I am not sure how you fix it - reading New Grub Street by George Gissing at the moment, and the phenomenon I noted at bar school of hopelessly ill-qualified people trying to become barristers was just as prevalent in the 1890s, and applied to plenty of other professions. 

Stupid people will always find ways to waste their money and their lives.

The particularly mad thing about our university system is that kids move to the other side of the country to study at a mediocre institution a subject in most cases is available to study close to home.   In most countries only those going to elite universities or very specialised courses would consider moving to another part of the country to do so,  It is an enormous waste of money and takes up lots of accommodation space that could be used for permanent residents (every city centre is littered with student accommodation blocks)

Hard agree with Guy on this.  This is a real UK peculiarity that those from other European countries find weird.  However, there are wider cultural factors at play, including the on average poorer relationships between parents and their late teen / 20s children in Britain compared with other countries.  Of course, it's a bit chicken and egg, but many parents seem to just be looking forward to their leaving to go to university.

Crypto 13 Jun 24 12:30

That further supports my point that there should be fewer universities with fewer students.

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the jobs of tomorrow, Fintech, AI, Chemical engineering for better batteries and photovoltaic cells, physics, high tech industrial research, Pharma, 

we don't want any of that in the UK, so what if our neighbours, india, china etc are shovelling people through tertiary education! what the UK needs is 70% dullards who work in the mines..... that were closed.... oh well 

Rob, I think what you are saying about parent/child relationships was true of gen x and even millennials but Gen Z seem to be much more closely bonded to their parents than previous generations, going on holiday with them into their twenties, back home every holiday, back home after uni etc...perhaps now is the time to change government policy to nudge teenagers into studying closer to home unless they have good reason not to. 

Ash8913 Jun 24 13:30

Hrm, I don't remember the UK being a power house for PV

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because everyone was too busy doing X Factor when they should have been studying how light reacts inna cell 

I know the conservatives of the board want to remake the UK into Saudi north but I'd have thought even they realise that copying the approach of conservative countries on University is a disaster 

Sumo we have some of the best universities in the world, it is one area we genuinely excel.  I dont think anyone is talking about changing the model of our elite universities significantly, It is the 60 or 70 universities below them that do not seem to meet the actual needs of either the students or wider society offer poor value for money and struggle financially....

Guy Crouchback13 Jun 24 13:40

Sumo we have some of the best universities in the world, it is one area we genuinely excel.  I dont think anyone is talking about changing the model of our elite universities significantly, It is the 60 or 70 universities below them that do not seem to meet the actual needs of either the students or wider society offer poor value for money and struggle financially....

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and yet even with the country on its knees, we manage to have a world beating service economy and unemployment edging to 4.5% (we probably want about 3%) 

more learning, more knowledge, I don't care if people who went to school 20 years ago think animation, media studies, classics and latin are nonsense subjects, government picking winners doesn't work and the current pipeline seems to be getting people into work one way or anthoer. 

the world isn't getting less complex 

Not sure why elite universities should be excluded. WTF should someone doing classics or PPE at Oxford be subsidised by the state if they are just doing it to walk into an accountancy job? 

 

Also worth bearing in mind many of these people would be unemployed/pushing older people out of less skilled jobs. Keeping them delusional at uni while pushing the bill down the road works well for most politicians.

more learning, more knowledge, I don't care if people who went to school 20 years ago think animation, media studies, classics and latin are nonsense subjects, government picking winners doesn't work and the current pipeline seems to be getting people into work one way or anthoer. 

I dont think any subjects are nonsense subjects.  The courses that I think do students a dis- service are the traditional academic (rather than vocational) subjects  taught to kids with average A level grades who are not of an academic bent but feel they obliged to go through the university conveyor belt because a technical or vocational education that would suit them better and equip them better for work are looked down on in this country.   Most kids can spend their time far more profitably than doing a degree in English at Bournemouth University.

I agree entirely with Guy (it happens). 

Sumo - wasting people's time and money doing some "degree" at Derby "University" isn't producing people working in those fields. They get some entry level office job or even have to work in a shop since there is nothing else on offer. 

Most fields of study are legitimate but there probably needs to be fewer people studying them and better courses for those who are. 

The current system is doing everyone involved a disservice. 

Don't worry Guy. I disagree. Access should be increased and funding doubled. Restricting fields of study is undemocratic and causes depression, early death and Brexit.

And a good point re going away to study something available closer to home. My understanding is that Americans get substantial discounts if they chose to study at their local State University. If you live in Bristol why do you need to go to Leeds to do a chemistry degree? I accept that for some small courses and super-elite institutions it is different. 

Americans get discounts if they study in-state.  So, being from Massachusetts, I would have been eligible for reduced rates for University of Massachusetts colleges.  There was (and perhaps still is), free tuition for those who score a certain level on the MCAS.

I can't remember if UK universities have different citizen/resident rates vs. foreigners.  Australia does.

Forcing people to go to uni close to home will be terrible for social mobility. There is a huge range in quality of courses/institutions underneath the 'elite' institutions and centres of excellence are a good thing.  If we end up with generalist local tertiary colleges serving particular areas I guarantee you the one in Surrey will be better than the one serving post industrial towns in South Wales or North East England.  

Plus encouraging early exposure to being (geographically) mobile amongst the skilled labour force is a good thing. 

The UK's system is different to the European one and that is reflected in the relative rankings of UK universities vs european ones in the global league tables. This is one of the very, very few things we are good at/isn't broken. Stop trying to 'fix it'.

What we need to do is to find ways to encourage more people to do high quality vocational and STEM courses and stop funding crap courses. Essentially drive the difficulty level of courses up towards elite institution levels and you'll see student numbers fall. 

I don't know about that, Cat. 

Most areas have a good university nearby. I accept that for some people especially from remote and rural places, they won't be able to commute or there won't be anything locally. 

Take your turf of South Wales - you've got Cardiff and Swansea Unis there both of which are high quality and offer most courses. Why does someone from Cardiff need to go to Newcastle Uni (unless for some super-specialist course not offered elsewhere)? 

The north actually seems to punch above the Home Counties when it comes to the provision of good quality tertiary education. 

Crypto - that is by accident of history though and precisely because they don't currently exclusively serve the local areas in which they are located. 

 

DD the university system is not broken but it is clearly creaking.  If we dont change things either fees will have to go up even further or more public money has to go into the higher education which is not realistic.

I agree that the top 20-30 universities in this country are world class and worth travelling to.  Many of the remainder frankly are not and it all feels like a bit of rip off to encourage students to get into a mountain of debt by moving to bournemouth to study english or luton to study media or Teeside to study art history.   We should in my view move the system back to what it was prior to 1992 when we had research led universities teaching academic subjects to students that moved to them to study and no research led polytechnics teaching mostly vocational subjects (which did not always need to be degrees) with a largely local student body (save for certain areas of specialism or excellence).

Guy that would seem to a reasonable solution which would address Donny's point too. I still think there could be discounts for people choosing to go to their local "academic" centre rather than moving. Like I said why go from Bristol to Newcastle to do chemistry? 

Quite a few young people struggle to adjust to some of the newer student accommodation provided to them (built by Ruthless and Ruthless LLP (China)) They are suddenly very isolated in a small room, high rise building, edge of city  surrounded by others not from their course or any other link, dirty kitchens. They are paying a fortune and quite a few return home depressed.  

Our object is to provide education which will not produce a standardised or utility child, useful only as a cog in a nationalised and bureaucratic machine, but will enable the child to develop his or her responsible place, first n the world of school, and then as a citizen. Many parents will be able to choose the school they like and to play their part with the educational authorities in the physical and spiritual well-being of their children.

No system of education can be complete unless it heightens what is splendid and glorious in life and art. Art, science and learning are the means by which the life of the whole people can be beautified and enriched.

heh, from the manifesto, who could argue with that! 

Objectively we need less Wafflers and idiots. The likes of Laz and Sumo are valuable only in so far as they can kind of understand when something is wrong but they are not capable in terms of doing things.

I am not sure how you train people to be good at 'getting stuff done' but there is a huge dearth of that ability.

For some reason the whole country is bound by this bizarre idea that if someone says 'i want to do X' everyone goes 'ok great. Let's have a meeting about how X can be done given equality, environmental and other concerns'. Universities are training the Sumos and Laz's to be the latter but we need 'get shit done' people

Plenty of people do not live within commuting distance of a decent University. I'd agree going from one major city to study in another largely similar one at great cost is mad. Going from the ar*e end of nowhere to a city to get an education is perfectly reasonable.

What a lot of elitist crap on this thread.

The idea that young people should be forced to go to universities on their doorstep if they're reading "non-specialist subjects" is especially bloody stupid. 

Why go to Manchester or Durham to read Classics when you can go to Aldershot College instead? Great. 

University for me was as much about learning new life lessons as gaining a qualification. Living away from home, learning to cook properly, socialising with a wider group of people, doing things and being exposed to ideas I wouldn’t normally have seen, etc etc. 

Also of course what Penguin said the socialising with different types of people and being exposed to new ideas bit is absolutely crucial for social mobility as well. 

 

I'd agree going from one major city to study in another largely similar one at great cost is mad.

Why? How parochial. 

When you find out that some people move to neighbouring counties - even abroad - for their jobs, you'll properly lose your sh*t! 

Like I said why go from Bristol to Newcastle to do chemistry? 

Why TF not? It provides a different life experience. 

Unless you're seriously suggesting that people live at home with their parents during their university years (I assume not!) what difference does it make to cost? If anything, Newcastle is cheaper.

They do a Latin mass in Aldershot. There's obviously a market for a foundation of some sort. I'll need 20 copies of Kennedy's shorter Latin Primer, a blackboard and a heavy ruler. Ducks. You can be v-c. 

How many of the McJobs, which are most of what this country generates, need people with degrees? The university system is a racket that just taxes normal people with a massive debt to stop them progressing socially, and rinses forrins for a 3 year holiday in Slumshire.

You could run a course on this. Minellials being given too much freedom and opportunity is killing the lazy western mind can we learn them better without studenting them fings was better back in the day innit. Discuss. 

Bertha you are a classic example of the product of a British university education - an idiot with a degree who thinks he's clever.

That's very dangerous.

You are right that we need less of the people like you. But how do we create more people like me? How do you train competence? I'm still unsure.

Obviously you have to sell it to them as a plumbing degree or whatever but then you cunningly work in a structured course of Rabelaisian satire and quantum theory. 

Just to be clear - the "life experience" shite is from molly coddled clowns. Actually makes me think of Sunak and his national service thing. One month of working in a recycling sorting factory and living in a council high rise would give plenty of City aunts and tech bros all the life experience they need. 

I'll need 20 copies of Kennedy's shorter Latin Primer, a blackboard and a heavy ruler. Ducks. You can be v-c. 

Sounds like good gig.

I have one copy of Kennedy's and a ruler. 

Dux 20+ years ago it was a reasonable choice for the life experience. Given current housing and fee costs, for anyone not bankrolled by very wealthy parents it would be a mad choice.

This "life experience" thing is from a different era as snowfox says.    Yes for a time when universities were free they tended to act as a middle ground between childhood and adulthood for middle-class kids.  These days going to university costs a fortune, not all degrees will get you a "graduate job", kids who are not from a wealthy background are looking for value for the vast amount of debt they are getting into.   The traditional elite universities work so lets not change them,  but level below them do not, they need to be repurposed to serve the needs of their locality as the old polys used to.  They should also be able to provide degrees more cheaply and over two years.

I think this thread was meant to be entitled 

ANOTHER CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT FAILING TO PROVIDE PROPERLY FOR THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE

Reintroduce full maintenance grants and abolish tuition fees now

It's not a mad decision at all particularly for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds for whom the 'life experience' or rather the exposure to people from other backgrounds is by far the biggest value add of a university education. 

 

 

 

DD s while I agree there are ancillary benefits to university, there are other ways of obtaining equally valuable "life experience" than shelling out £10,000 per year on course that will not advance you much and which you are not particularly interested in order to live in student hall on the edge of a minor city with a group of other kids?  There are better life experiences than that to be had for far less money.

I agree with that Guy. But for most of the  people who would get the most value out of them those experiences will be out of reach financially because the government won't lend them the money to do those things.  

Kids who grow up poor in deprived areas need, more than anything, the opportunity to get out of those places and see different ways of living and experience different ways of thinking. 

DD, it is a tricky one and I am not convinced of that.  In my experience many of the kids that stayed at home got a decent trade married and had children relatively  early and maintained a life in close proximity to extend family and childhood friends ended up on average just as happy as those that went off to university and work hundreds of miles away from "home" saddled with huge debt and constantly angst ridden about the various choices facing them.   Freedom and choice suits some people but family and community is far more important to others.

Has student debt changed again? I thought it only started being repaid once earnings were above a certain amount. Is that no longer the case?

 

I think as many people as possible should go to university. The real issue is with employers who are advertising jobs that do not require a university degree for someone to perform them competently with a degree level education as a requirement for the role (I've seen it happen where an Insurance company required a degree level education for call centre staff).

 

University is a great home for those 18 year olds that do not know what they want to do with their life from an employment perspective. Spend 3 years learning more, meeting people from different backgrounds and growing up before you sign yourself up to 50 years of working life. 

 

Studying at home or away from home is a horses for courses argument for me. I benefited massively from moving away and meeting people from different backgrounds. My cousin, and Sister, both tried it and hated it and ended up moving home and commuting to university an hour away from home and were much happier for it.

Degree Apprenticeships exist and are growing. They allow the student to move away, start working 80% of the time, and in Uni 20% of the time. 

Yes it gives a different “university experience” but if you can £25k a year during it that makes a huge difference

Guy - how many people do you know from genuinely deprived areas though? 

Plus at the moment there is nothing STOPPING those who want to stay near family and community from going to a university near their home is there? It's not like you have to move to the other side of the country if you don't want to. You are dangerously close to making assumptions about what certain types of people want/what is good for them here. 

DD, I will happily say here and now that getting £50k into debt to study a bog standard arts or humanities course at a low ranked university is not a good idea for anyone - if I had a a child who got average a levels and not of an academic mindset I would strongly advise them to take a different path.  I consider that certain students are being taken advantage of and not receiving value either in terms of the quality of the course or the likely value of the degree.    The number of admin assistants we have at work with degrees like this is very large.

I am not sure I entirely agree Guy. I know a fair few Brits out here with degrees from pretty ropey universities who are in very well paid jobs. Jobs they would never have got if they couldn't tick the 'has a degree' box and while in theory you can always do a degree later by distance learning or whatever it is bloody hard going. 

It's very much horses for courses. The world is a bigger place than the UK and increasingly the UK is a (relatively) crap place to make your way in the world if you don't come from money. 

I would be pretty slow to advise any young person not to get a degree unless they were very, very clear about wanting to follow a particular path that clearly did not require a degree. 

I completely agree there should be more paths to getting a degree though (including degree apprenticeships) that avoid the need to take on a ton of debt.

Is sociology useless though?

What do you study to become a social worker? I'd always assumed it was a sociology degree. And always thought that there were thousands of vacancies?

Taking a sociology degree if you want to become a social worker, an English degree if you want to become an English teacher and a nursing degree if you want to become a nurse seems no less sensible than doing a law degree if you want to become a lawyer (and, given the surplus of lawyers and the wreckage AI is about to inflict on paralegals and similar lawyers doing grunt work, possibly a lot more sensible).

The traditional elite universities work so lets not change them,  but level below them do not, they need to be repurposed to serve the needs of their locality 

Assume you're talking about places like Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, etc. 

That's exactly what they were established to do in the late 19th / early 20th centuries, but such was their academic standing that they started to attract students from across the country. I can't see how returning to that model is progressive. And, as I said, if you're living in halls and enjoying a healthy social life, what difference does it make whether it's your local university or one further afield? You can save a few quid on the train fare, I guess!? 

Crypto13 Jun 24 15:27

If you live in Bristol why do you need to go to Leeds to do a chemistry degree? I accept that for some small courses and super-elite institutions it is different. 

Ok I accept it wasn't you that said that, but that's the principle of the argument. And it's daft IMO.