Wednesday, 8 December 2010

ahead of tomorrow's vote

just a thought or two.  There is no evidence that students are deterred from going to university by the fees they have to pay.  Or someone has to.  At some point.  In the UK it is largely class that deters people from higher education.  University tuition fees should be whatever the market will stand, certainly way higher than they mostly are now, with restrictions on how the universities can spend them, so that there is always a commitment to research.  I do not see why parents who have been paying many thousands a year in school fees should be subsidised thereafter.  And there is nothing wrong with bursaries.  And nothing wrong with governments subsidising the universities to teach socially useful subjects.  Yes.  Social engineering.  Why not?  Governments should do more of it.  People will take on a financial commitment if they think there is something worthwhile to be had from it.  If they think it is a good investment.  You do not see many people in the UK unwilling to buy their home, and to go into serious debt to do it.  You do not see many people unwilling to take on credit to buy a car, which is not socially useful and not a good financial investment, given that a car begins depreciating from the moment it is driven out of the showroom.  People will do the same with their higher education.  If they don't think it is financially worth it they won't do it.  And what is wrong with that?  It is a matter of delicious enjoyment to see so many LibDems squirming on this issue.  You're in government now, matey boys.  That can be hard to do sometimes.  A lot harder than shouting from the safety of opposition.

Now stop being silly and get governing.


Jonny said...

Just like the EMA and SureStart, funding University education is an investment in all our futures, rather than just being a gamble by future graduates on their earning potential in the future. That's why a graduate tax is fair.

Anonymous said...

You see, I don't think many people in 'Government' would regard three yeras studying Eng Lit as being 'socially useful'. They would regard Maths, Physics, Medicine, Dentistry, Engineering, Business Studies, Accontancy and Law as 'socially useful.Even the pointless and geeky 'IT'.

Don't think they would consider Fine Art as socially useful either.And how would Ancient History 'get you a job? Or Clasiscs - ie, Latin and Greek?

Don't agree at all that you should do a degree because 'it leads to a job'.
You study a degree because you love the subject and want to take it to a higher level. Or you should. Or if not - don't bother to go at all. Utilitarianism is slap band into the world of 1984 again.

No. No. No.

dreamingspire said...

Apart from students liking to demonstrate from time time (develops their minds, one hopes), the recent protests seem to have been fed by disinformation from the anti brigade and very poor handling of promotion of the policy by the ConDems. The fear promoters have convinced too many people that these fees will have to be paid up front - but even those part timers who actually do NOW have to pay up front will get access to loans under the new proposals (as long as each year they are clocking up a large enough proportion of a full time course). We have gone from spin to poor citizen relations, and I suspect that the details of the policy were not actually worked out before it was announced. To make things worse, the Student Loans company has this term apparently continued to fail far too many students.

Jane Griffiths said...

v interesting anon 1002 - four years ago when I was thinking about doing it, teaching MOdern Languages was exempt from fees and bursaries were available, because it was deemed "socially useful". It is very rare for government to promote the study of medicine, because so many people want to do it and are prepared to pay a lot that there is no need. And I agree that you don't go to university ot get a job - though it helps - but that is another argument. And what kind of degree do you suppose most government ministers got? And where from?

Anonymous said...

They certainly didn't do Eng Lit - although a good proportion would benefit from the intellectual rigour of immersion in Dream of The Rood The Wife's Tale, Beowulf etc.

They did PPE and it shows. They read John Grisham and Ken Follett.

As for Modern Languages - glad to know that bursaries are available for teaching but I would bet to hell that French Literature, German Literature etc no longer feature highly on any curriculum.
I expect L'Etranger/Le Grand Meaulnes etc are about the level of the French ( excuse spelling incidentally - I don't have more than O level French many years ago although I can give anyone a run for their money in Anglo Saxon) literature taught - if taught at all outside A level.
Effie Briest about the level of the German - again, if taught it is. And anything by Marguerite Duras. The reason that bursaries will be available for teaching Modern Languages is probably because these languagwes 'travel' in economic terms. If you can get by in them, then you can no doubt cope working - maybe for a British company - in Europe. I certainly doubt if Modern Languages are regarded as useful from an intellectual stance - although they should be.

As for English - as any fule know, this subject is now increasingly regarded as a tool that must be mastered to read anad operate the IT instructions. And if there is anything other than To Kill a Mockingbird and Romeo and Juliet on the syllabus at any level other than A level - than it is a rarity.

Not a definition of 'education' as I understand the term - but then I am a dinosaur and don't count.