Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Who should go to university?

I was watching Question Time last week and one question was about funding for university students. The Government has an aim to get 50% of young people into university. I suppose that they feel that if half of our young people get to university then this is a sign of higher educational standards. Also university life is a great experience. If you have more people who participate in student life then you have more people with this great experience.

The opposite view is that universities are places of academic excellence, and 50% of our student population are not academically excellent. Someone has to pay for university training and the quote that I remember from last week is that we produce more qualified photographers per year than are required in the whole of Europe in total. Doctors would simply not allow this to happen in their profession. A few years ago there was a shortage of physiotherapists. New schools of physiotherapy were opened and qualified numbers increased but to say the least, the number of NHS jobs was slow to follow, and very many therapists struggled for jobs. Vocational places should relate to vocational need. Let's not train people to a very high standard so that they can sign on.

Let’s also not have targets for targets sake. Our educational system should allow our youth to be taught to the best of their ability. It should not be based on allowing students to have a nice three years, and it shouldn’t be based on allowing the rich to pursue their interests regardless of ablilty, along with the less rich who may be quite able but end up with huge debts. The result is that we all end up with a debt culture.

Change the world.

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