Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Up and down the Country, tens of thousands of students will be hugely excited at the prospect of starting University next week. For many it will be nothing less than the start of a new life.

But for an ever increasing number who are not particularly academic, it will be the worst decision they ever make.

They will either leave after three years with a £25 000 overdraft and a Mickey Mouse Degree, which offers little more than a job in a call centre; or drop out after finding that the course they were recommended is actually way beyond their ability. These young people will quite rightly feel a great anger towards their schools and former teachers for never explaining these possibilities to them. Instead they were constantly praised and given A and B grades in exams which they could not have even passed 25 years ago.

I've said it a dozen times on this blog and in my book; University should have remained for the top few percent of the academic spectrum. That way we could have avoided the dumbing down and consequent reduction in value of so many degrees along with the introduction of all the comical ones, which bring further ridicule to a once highly regarded qualification. (I don't even need to list them anymore-just make up a few names that sound much too ridiculous to be genuine, add the word "Studies" then use Google to find half a dozen places that proudly offer them)

With far less students, we could easily afford to pay for Course Fees and give them a decent grant to live on. Latest Monday Books Author, trumpeter of all things positive about Britain and Apprentice Rachman; Steve Pope might not approve, but even he cheerfully admits that his tenants are getting dimmer than the new energy efficient lightbulbs he has to change for them.


The TEFL Tradesman said...

Indedd, Frank. I mean, what does this country need most - idiots with 3rd class sociology degrees, or idiots with a trade, such as plumber or roofer?

The second class of idiot is much more employable - and useful!

Anonymous said...

I blame the introduction of "degrees" and "academies" at secondary schools. The probably least useful of which seems to be "Health and social care", whcih at my school is frequently referred to as "sex and shopping".

Anonymous said...

Its a difficult one isn't it? We want people to study more, but there has to be a point to it. With so many people getting top grades (no comment as to whether it is because exams are easier or pupils are brighter, don't think I'm qualified to judge) a lot universities are introducing their own exams to distinguish between candidates.

In my school it was almost not even an option to consider going straight from school to work. I was one of those for whom it made sense to study more, but for my brother, who is a lot more hands on (and world aware) than he is academic, it would make more sense to do an apprenticeship). Familial and school pressures mean he is pootling off to university, thankfully to do a course that is quite practical so more suited to his needs.

Thing is society puts massive pressure on everyone to study, study study. And then, because so many people have degrees, employers look for higher and higher qualifications which are not actually needed to do the job well, as the only way to distinguish between candidates.

Its a vicious cycle!