How exactly do they plan to cap the growth in the number of students entering higher education? Imperial were massively over subscribed this year when too many applicants met the entry requirements. There's not much you can do to stop an increase in numbers when everyone gets 3 As or more. Unless they bring forward changes in the application process so that next years cohort apply to University after exam results have been released I see no way in which that can be enforced.
Higher education is being used as a way to hide unemployment. Rather than working 47 years (18-65) people work only 44 (21-65), meaning that there are less people in the workforce. It works to an extent, but it means that the economy is not as strong as it should be. With all due respect to people, are so called Mickey Mouse courses really going to help us out of this recession? We need a larger percentage of the adult population working in real jobs, rather than having the figures hid in higher education and state non jobs.
Also, I believe that encouraging more people to take on massive amounts of student debt is the last thing that should be happening now.
It is disgusting that during a recession a representative of a part of the HE Sector that is little more than a non-job creation scheme for some of the most feckless, underproductive parts of the UK is trying to ringfence his highly questionable entitlement to money that could be more efficiently spent elsewhere.
Hopefully the current debt crisis will make school leavers of average ability think twice about making a sub-prime investment in a Mickey Mouse course offered by the "universities" that Prof. Ebdon represents.
I'd be worried that the current job market will have the opposite affect on School leavers. Where will all the kids destined to take on roles in Woolies go now all the shops are shutting down? I wouldn't be surprised if places like WHSmiths and Superdrug were not going to follow quite quickly behind. And workers made unemployed by the likes of the Lehmann Brothers will already have taken all the in-between jobs or be similarly turning to Higher Education to bridge the gap for a couple of years. Only option will be to take on a course in something fairly laughable at a backwater university and hopefully ride out the recession or go on the dole. Which seems to be what Prof Lebdon is suggesting. Not going to happen, it's so short sighted.
Also, restricting growth in university places is a great idea but it will only work if done properly. If it hasn't been thought through properly then all you will get is a large cohort of students deferring entry and, as they already have their results, getting unconditional offers for next year. Meaning that if the growth is still capped then students leaving school for entry in 2010 will have to defer and so on and so forth. There will be a boom somewhere along the line. Again, so very short sighted. Possibly how we got into this financial mess in the first place, noone thinks far enough ahead.
All I know is that I am building up a lot of debt because a bunch of morons think they are entitled to a "university experience". Shut down the c**p Uni's and fund the good ones properly. It's hardly a big ask.
Of course Universities are chronically underfunded. There are two reasons for this:
1)Everyone always thinks that their section of society is underfunded. Even Bill Gates probably complains about the lack of money going into software development.
2)They're state funded. Everything that is state funded/subsidized is also chronically underfunded, because of bureaucratic overheads, unrealistic expectations and overdemand. Not to mention that the more successful state enterprises tend to be used as a funding source for political pet projects.
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