Tuition fees are not working out in quite the way the government planned. The government should not be surprised by this as they left the door wide open with vague conditions regarding poorer students and have done little to enforce the limits promised to the public.
Universities and colleges are having a hard time at present and are being forced to get as much money as possible from any source they can in order to survive. Immigration caps are likely to cut off the wellspring of funding that was once available from foreign students and domestic school leavers cannot afford the fees that are now required.
TheOpinionSite.org pointed out some time ago that not everyone needs – or wants – a university education yet the government insists that to go to university is the only way forward if you want to get a reasonable job.
At the same time, the standard of degrees has declined dramatically from what it once was and it is now virtually impossible to fail a degree. Many employers don’t know what qualifications may or may not be worth and, obviously, if everyone has a degree such qualifications cannot allow good candidates for a job to be distinguished from those less able.
One of the main purposes of a university education in the past was to teach people how to solve problems by researching the necessary data. Nowadays, the whole of education seems to be a mixture of multiple-choice question papers and asking students to solve problems having given the methos of doing so in advance.
Industry and society needs people who can solve the never ending stream of problems that modern life produces. Understandably, employers look to the universities to produce these problem solvers. The problem arises when those with the qualifications can often only solve problems if they are given most of the answer first.
There are, of course some excellent universities who turn out equally excellent graduates but it seems now that those students who are bright enough to attain entry to such institutions may not be able to afford to attend. Even these higher educational insitutions are now experiencing very real financial difficulties.
With increasing unemployment and less money around generally, this will be an interesting period for all concerned. It is hoped that the government will take action while it still can to try and prevent inflation in the fees market place but TheOpinionSite.org believes that it may already be too late.
Universities rely on advance sign ups, in particular from foreign students. If there is significant doubt as to whether or not they can afford to attend, those advance reservations are not likely to be forthcoming. Yet without them, no university could survive for very long.
If Michael Gove, the Education Secretary wants to make a real difference to the educational prospects of young people in a meaningful way, perhaps he ought to take action now to ensure that university education is not returned to the state it was when he was a student; that where less than 20% of school leavers were able to attend these senior seats of learning.
There is of course another option and that is to publicly state that university is not for everyone but to be frank, it would be a brave and probably unwise politician who would have the courage or foolishness to promote such a view, even if it is probably true.