Political correctness has nothing to do with it. The country is turning to
a high tech economy. The government has to prepare for this. So the other
50%, if it ever gets that high, who do not go to higher education shall be
involved in the basic skills we all know and need. That 50% is a lot of
| "Andy Hall" wrote
| > Also the political correctness of having a target of 50% of the
| > population "going to a university".
| Political correctness has nothing to do with it. The country is
| turning to a high tech economy. The government has to prepare for
| this. So the other 50%, if it ever gets that high, who do not go
| to higher education shall be involved in the basic skills we all
| know and need. That 50% is a lot of people.
But I don't see how someone who gets GCSE Reading and Writing and then
spends 3 years reading for BA Sociology With Macrame is being prepared for
either a high tech economy or essential basic skills.
Even the traditional skilled manual occupations are becoming much more
technical. Most of the construction of that Huf House wasn't what we would
traditionally call building, it was precision fabrication and assembly, not
the sort of work that can be carried out by the average British gibbon with
NVQ Level 1 in Pushing A Wheelbarrow.
I don't agree. The precision is all in the factory, like Ikea
flat-pack furniture. British workers erect skyscrapers and other very
complex buildings all the time. That crane driver, for example, had a
very responsible job and I thought the cooperation between him and the
Germans was excellent.
Indeed, to raise the standards of Britsh building would be to render
huge quantitoes of shovel leaners and weheelbarrow pushres - not t
mention temporary traffic signal operators - unemployable, and this rase
the specter of mass unemployment again.
I mean, what chance would IMM have at a real job?
No wonder he is Laber to the core...
The real purpose of dumbing down the education system is to produce
Votahs whose only chance of anything is as a public servant doing a make
believe job and utterly beholden to the taxpayer to stay alive. :-)
I expect that most would agree that any government ought to try and
create a framework to support all aspects of the economy not just the
high tech economy. However they show no indication whatsoever of having
the slightest clue how to do this. Their actions indicate that they are
achieving the opposite!
ISTM that political correctness has everything to do with it. The
government has decided that it will further their political ambition,
and bestow a nice warm fuzzy feeling on the electorate, if they make
bold statements to the effect that anyone with the desire to attend and
graduate from a university can now do so. They have created a
fundamental problem for themselves.
The reality is that only a very small percentage of the population are
currently able to graduate from university - 90%+ of the population do
not. There may be a few of those who are "excluded" for various reasons,
but the hard and inescapable fact is that most do not have the required
basic levels of intelligence or ability required to study at a
(traditional) university level; let alone graduate. This is especially
true in the hard sciences and technical areas so vital for the so called
hi-tech economy. This is not a question of "accessibility" or
"inclusiveness" or eliminating "elitism" - but simple bell curve
statistics - half the people can not have an intelligence equal to the
The only way you are going to achieve this stated ambition of 50% to
attend university, is if you lower the standards required to enter and
graduate. Either by "dumbing down" or by introducing all sorts of non
academic courses ("media studies" and the like). This is not only unfair
and counter productive for the students who fall for this line, it also
devalues the reputation of the universities themselves and their former
With the current trend for government and media inverted snobbery, they
claim the universities are "elitist". Well good - so they should be in
the true sense of the word. They should offer the best education to the
best and most able students. To do anything else will fail those most
able students, and devalue the reputation of those that have graduated
before them, as well as the reputation of the university.
If the government could loose its fixation on universities as the only
way to achieve further / higher education and training then they would
have a much better chance of achieving a useful result for all, without
saddling large quantities of the young populas with intolerable debt
burdens to meet the ever expanding cost of providing education of a
Is that sufficiently brutal un-PC for you?
Indeed, and in doing so are creating a situation in which not only
will it be *more* difficult for those able to benefit from an academic
education to have unfettered access to it, but the "faux-university or
nothing" approach will continue to erode at the base of exactly those
skills needed to build and maintain a high tech economy.
I believe that some Media Studies courses have, in fact, significant
academic content, and that MS graduates actually have a surprisingly
high success rate in gaining graduate-level employment. Its more
damaging, I think, that universities are offering courses in technical
subject to which students are admitted with qualifications and
capabilities totally unmatched to the subject -- resulting in a
"dumbing down" of those courses (since the universities cannot afford
to have either high dropout rates or a public perception of numbers
failures at degree level). Hence, for example, students being able to
gain degrees in "computer scince" that leave them at best equiped to
undertake relatively menial tasks in IT infrastructure maintenance or
perform first-line tech support in a call centre.
Absolutely -- I fail to understand the obsession of successive
governments that there is something *wrong* with being elitist with
respect to academic ability and intelligence -- if the same criteria
were applied to sport, for example, would we see demands that 50% of
the population should be playing for a Premiership football team. Or,
in the arts, that 50% of the population should be playing in a major
orchestra or be a published novelist ...
Just as wholesale tinkering with the secondary education system led to
good grammar schools, once available to all within a local authority
area, to go private denying access to all but those able to afford to
pay their fees, there is now a good chance that within a generation we
will see Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial, Edinburgh, and others removing
themselves from the public sector, and setting fee levels comparable
with the Ivy League colleges in the US (with which they would then be
competing for the able students of the affluent).
Couldn't agree more.
and for IMM's benefit, you can use the following to save yourself some
julian (at) bellevue-barn (dot) org (dot) uk
If you look at their fees for non-UK or non-EU students, they are
actually very comparable to the Ivy League colleges and others on the
west coast with similar academic standing. They are all in the
$30-40k per annum range.
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Indeed. I employed a graduate from an Indian university in electronic
It ws patently obvious within a day that she had never used a soldering
iron in her life.
She ended up more or less as a prodction line rework and test engineer.
Nowhere near as qualified as the Hatfield polytechnic sandwich students
we had, one of whom is now running a very successful wlectrical
I have emplyed three o four hatfield poly people. Very well trained
practical intelligent people. Infinitely more useful than a comp sci grad.
Thats what we need - peple who know one end of a sldering iron from teh
other, who are familiar with industrail standrds and practices, and who
have been taught to do practically useful things. Not people burdened
down with half understood theory, all of which can be acquired later if
ever necessary - who have never done anything of practical use in their
Its a simple matter of teh facts. Rynaiar has laid down te gauntlet vis
a vis disabled people. Whaich is preferbale, a disabled guy has to pay
36 quid to use a wheelchair, or everyone pay an extra 50p on their fare?
Fare enuff, I say. It costs money to make special treatment for special people.
One has to balance that with the overall social desirability of having that happen.
We cold require every aircraft landing in teh UK be equpped with
sufficient technology as to allow it to be flown by a mentally subnormal
paraplegic. Ther are those in the disabled lobby who would contest that
any other course is unfair discrimination.
From a certain perspective, they are right.
The COST of so doing tho would simply burden th erest of society with a
huge and unacceptable taxaton regime.
I happen to think you are right. It is not POSSIBLE to NOT discriminate
on many many grounds against people who for one reason or another are
naturally less suited to do certain things than others. Legislation
wshold confine itself to making sure thay have SOME opportuniy, not the
In other words, you can't make it fair, so stop wasting money trying.
Just concentate on making it better. Whe making it more fair makes it
worse - i.e. down to the fantasy level of feeding all intelligent people
drugs, and removing the limbs of the able bodied and crippling their
spines....yup. That is now FAIR. Its also manifestly WORSE all round.
This current government is on that fantasy track.
But it doesn't serve the needs of the economy or the individuals
concerned to engineer education such that 50% go to a university by
dropping the standards to make that happen.
Devaluing the education system as a whole because of some misplaced
notion that some skills are "higher" than others in terms of their
value to society doesn't achieve anything. It isn't an issue of
higher and lower or one skill being better than another. The
important point is matching the education resources to the abilities
of the individual.
Skills are rewarded according to supply and demand. Individuals can
choose the extent to which financial reward is important to them as
well as many other aspects of a career.
Dropping academic standards removes the incentive for those with
academic skills to strive for achievement. More and more we are in
an international business environment. Fortunately, we still have
high standards in some of the universities and they are able to
compete with the best in the world in terms of academic achievement.
If this deteriorates then we will be in real trouble.
Yes and they are equally deserving of appropriate education and
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
You're saying that dropping standards to admit more people is a good
I've looked at recent GCSE, A level and degree course exam papers.
The standard has dropped substantially over the last few years.
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
The show on C4 (?) a while ago was quite enlightening where it put new
school leavers "back to school" to 1950`s standards.
The shock on the faces of the kids when the "hard" exam they took they
assumed must have been something akin to A-levels turned out, in fact, to
just be the 11+
Elsewhere (uk.legal I think) it was revealed that the pass mark for one
particular subject was about 12% IIRC, and about 40% got you an A
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