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Watching ‘Pointless’ the other night, (yes I know) I heard a young contestant remark that he had just completed a university degree and as a consequence was twenty thousand in debt, so a share of the jackpot would come in handy.

I may have said this before but I’ve no worries about saying it again. Any developed nation that allows such a situation should be ashamed of itself. If we don’t invest properly in our young talent then we are ******.

Categories: Politics
  1. Brian Campbell
    February 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Whilst I agree that education funding needs a good dose of looking at I do wonder how much of that £20,000 was totally necessary. When I did my degree 1958 to 1961 I had what was then called a County Major Scholarship. All fees were paid regardlees of family income. Living allowance was means tested based on family income to a maximum of £250 p.a. My dad had a fairly good job and my grant was £200. Out of this £3 10s 0d per week went to my landlady. This left me the princly sum of £88 p.a to buy books, beer,mid-day meal (pork brawn in a bun)travel and fun.No mobile phone. No car. No waccy baccy. But at the end of three years no debt. Not a ******* penny. If all of the pointless degrees were scrapped and kids were encouraged to study the useful subjects (science, engineering, medicine, engineering,languages, engineering)or do an apprenticeship
    perhaps we could return to the old ways.

  2. Brian Campbell
    February 4, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Following my rant I trawled the net and found many people saying the same thing only far more lucidly. So why is nothing being done. The example given over and over again is a degree in golf course management. Presumably you approve of this – or maybe not.

  3. February 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    The annual turn-over of my humble golf club is in excess of £2m, and it is by no means the largest in the land. Should a business of that size, regardless of its purpose, be managed by people who are educated to degree standard? IMHO, TFR.

    I’m slightly younger than you, Brian, but even in my day there were only four full-blown universities in Scotland: Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Aberdeen. However alongside those were several colleges of higher education and central institutions, offering degree-equivalent courses certified by the CNAA. Over the years those places have achieved university status, hence the apparent proliferation of ‘degree’ courses today.

    Your £200 minimum grant (it may have been £250 by 1962) was assessed on the basis that your parents would make some contribution to your upkeep. Many students were on more than that, but even your allowance, and mine, were greater than the young Ken (see Facebook) Houston’s weekly wage, given that they were based on a 36-week academic year. As you say, all your tuition fees were met; that was the Scottish norm, everyone’s were. So, not only were our courses free of charge, but we were paid for taking them. In other words, the state invested in us, because it thought we were worth it.

    Now the state only seems to invest in people who do, for whatever reason, eff all.

  4. Fergus
    February 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Entirely agree with you and the number of asterisks there allows complete understanding. Why on earth would you go to univesity now, knowing that you maybe/probably won’t get a job after all the effort AND have the ball and chain of debt for years to come? I wanted to be an international-class welder but (early 70’s) after a considerable amount of, shall we say, persuasion from my family, I went to university to study French. I do/don’t regret it for a minute (see the dichotomy here), on the one hand, I was awarded the princely sum of £750/year by the Scottish Education Authority or whatever it was called then to cover everything and it did, books, rent, beer, waccy baccy, the lot, on the other, had I not done that and chosen to become an apprentice and learned to weld to a very high standard, I’d be rich and retired now (or dead). I feel privileged to have been given the chance to spend four years listening, learning, discussing, reading, writing and, frankly, being in an “intellectual” bubble without having to worry about having to pay anybody back. That was priceless, I really did feel free. Today, if I had to do it again, I’d go for welding. Sad, isn’t it? All the good things that unversity offers are now tainted by parents having to pay when many can’t/debts to reimburse and the idea that “I have to get a job out of this.” Appalling. That’s not what it’s about.

  5. Brian Campbell
    February 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    You are right in saying that my folks were expected to top up the £50. With two younger brothers to keep as well money was tight. However they did their bit by feeding me during holidays transporting me from Teesside to Leeds, and buying my underwear. I suppose the occasional fiver came my way as well.

  6. February 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I was lucky in that my University was within commuting distance. Although, looking back, maybe that wasn’t so lucky.

  7. Brian Campbell
    February 4, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    My nearest choices for civil engineering were Leeds or Newcastle. Nowadays certainly for suburban or city dwellers there is a universty on every corner and the opportunities to live at home and avoid the additional expense is tempting but the opportunity to spread your wings is lost. I don’t regret living away from home, although I did move back for a couple of years when I got my first job.

  8. Pat Wright
    February 4, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    As an interested and unqualified onlooker, my comments are worth what you’re paying….but…Considering the number of college grads in the unemployment line here in the good old USA, me thinks the technical schools should be overloaded with interested learners. That Uni key to advancement seems to have disappeared but where can I find a qualified plumber when the toilet overflows??? Changing technology has changed the labor market and desirable as that broadbased humanities education, it ‘s not butter on the bread, it appears!

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