Don’t send your kids to university

Most people will get a lot more from university if they already have work experience – preferably 25 plus.  Most degrees, in themselves and outside science, are worthless and employers know this.  The better routes are apprenticeship or direct work experience.  Three years with Sainsburys will put your boy or girl in a better position at 21 than university, less about 50K of debt.  In this time they could do more than half a degree part-time.  One evening module a week would get them a third of the qualification and show any employer at that time they are capable of the level.

All parties are lying about this because they can only offer an expanding economy on the basis of waiting for one to come through growth – and growth will only come again if we cut debt by writing a lot of it off.  At least £3 trillion of Europe‘s debt that we can pin down is now unpayable, so austerity won’t work.  More people are in work now than prior to the general election – yet the rate of unemployment and under-employment is spiking up.  Don’t sit back on your old-fogey ideology – try signing on and see what a lack of help and jobs that really exists.  Watch a replay of tonight’s Newsnight to see how hopeless it is. The two dorks either side of Paxman clearly have no clue and the fact that the cuts are about to bite didn’t even get a mention.

This coming year is the first of full fees for each year of university study.  This means a debt of £27K plus maintenance fees plus extra for reasonable living conditions less any earnings not spent.  Your kids may get little more than textbook teaching delivered in ‘death by Powerpoint’ in a system that passes almost anyone who can put together 3-6 essays a semester together from the set texts.

There’s a knock-on problem in what I’m saying and that is pressure on those kids who wouldn’t go to university anyway.  The brighter kids will be competing with them for the jobs at 18.  So, if your boy sensibly doesn’t do leisure studies, tourism or media studies and becomes a train driver, someone else’s won’t.

We need structural reforms to come as quickly as they do in war mobilisation.  There isn’t a politician even talking about this.  And talking about Korea’s 80% university-college participation rate is barking – their system is dire.  The answer lies in productive jobs, reasonable wages and a more equal society -not in forcing educationalists to pass on what political culture requires (as in Korea and our own GCSE and A levels).  I have no problems with otherwise bright students who can’t spell or count – but I do with those who haven’t learned to use spellcheckers and spreadsheets over three years – and who obviously barely know one end of a computer let alone a program despite their ICT GCSE.

I suspect the secret of our universities used to be that they only let smart students in and that those in gave themselves an education on what scraps they were thrown.  This was OK with the 10% entry of my day and the wonderful mature students I was teaching 10 years ago.  Now we are teaching answers to people who can’t deal with questions.

Over in the USA student debt is over $1 trillion – more than credit card debt,

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2 thoughts on “Don’t send your kids to university

  1. Most of what I learned at university ten years ago [from the syllabus] has turned out to be pretty much useless, outdated or unused.
    However what I was taught from day one, was how to research, how to ask questions, back them up with data and results, and to apply the answers to practical problems.
    Now many of the graduates I deal with only seem to have gone to uni’ because it is expected of them and are not much suited for more data entry, and even then they don’t have the focus to do it for long enough.

  2. I am able to choose where I work and am not constrained by management. I have mature students who tell me (teaching more or less what you got and I got) that to do this at work is more or less to ask for your P.45. Even ex-students working at ONS report they are asked to produce positive reports rather than accurate ones. Standards more or less collapsed in around 1995. An HNC from 1992 is worth more than a degree now. PhDs are more or less worthless. Most academic work is vanity published.
    Take a look at GSCE and A level questions and you’ll find you are a broader ‘expert’ than you thought! The critical side of more or less nothing is taught. Even Harvard has a dispute from students wanting more than neo-classical economics from staff who ignore not only altewrnate theory but also conflicting data.

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