Tories declare students a burden on us all
Nasty party back to being nasty
Universities minister David Willetts did little to win over his new constituency by describing students as an unacceptable burden on UK taxpayers.
Joining in the coalition government's frenzy of cutback soundbites ahead of
next week's the Budget on 22 June Willetts said the costs of university education were a "burden on the taxpayer that had to be tackled".
University funding is currently under review by ex-BP boss Lord Browne, but Willetts said just changing the level of fees paid by students might not be enough.
He told the Guardian: "It is not a matter of simply changing the fees. The system doesn't contain strong incentives for universities to focus on teaching and the student experience, as opposed to research."
He said students should consider fees "more as an obligation to pay higher income tax".
Aaron Porter, president-elect of the National Union of Students, said people were graduating with average debts of £22,000 which "felt very much like debt to them".
Tory Willetts said Labour had completely failed to address the issue or to push universities to focus on excellent teaching. ®
Everyone is equal?!?
They're only a burden because there are so many of them. Thanks to 'Call Me' Tony Bliar's socialist call for 50% of the population to go to University, the value of a degree has been correspondingly eroded. University was always traditionally supposed to be for the academics, and while it might seem lovely and inclusive to get everyone doing it, a large portion of the courses for these new students are entirely useless and will not pay for themselves over the working life of the person concerned.
I guess it depends...
... on what you are actually studying. Under Labour there was this mad idea that unless you had a university degree you were a nobody.
What we need is graduates with degrees that are meaningful and useful : degrees in engineering, design, business management and so on. Degrees that will help them get jobs that will actually help boost the UK economy.
So yes - students going to university just to get a degree that is meaningless and pointless are a burden on the UK tax payer and frankly should be axed.
The whole system of further education needs looking at. The University sector has grown hugely over the past couple of decades and has pumped out a huge number of graduates only for many of them to find that there are no appropriate jobs for them. Also, many of the degrees now produced are of poor quality with little obvious benefit to the graduate who comes out carrying lots of debt. There are more appropriate further educational models that are more appropriate to the needs of individuals and the country as a whole.
As it is, the whole meaning of what it is to be a University has been diminished by the rush to quantity over quality. In the days when we had Polytechnics, before John Major's government started wrecking the sytem, the purpose and role of further education was rather better defined and more cost-effective.
It's not the students who are unaffordable - it's this incredibly expensive and bloated system which is producing indebted graduates without appropriate prospects. Of course there will be lots of middle class parents (like I suspect the author of this piece) who will resent the reduction in subsidies to their offspring. However, the simple truth is that a system that was affordable for 10% of the population simply isn't when 50% or more use it.
A bit of grown up thinking about econimics might be wortwhile rather than this nonsense.