Thursday, 9 December 2010

Graduates, here's one view

Graduates are ten-a-penny these days and half of them cannot spell to save their lives. University has become one big 3-year long drunken haze for most young people. I know, because I've hired a few over the last few years. Imagine, a literature graduate who didn't know where "One may smile and smile and be a villain..." came from! None of the people protesting seem to have done the sums on the new proposals. That's how bad their level of functional maths is... Pay for it and only then will you make it pay for you.

There are of course a lot of graduates that actually go to university for the right reasons and none of this is about them.

The Liberal Democrats' pledge does not matter. It really does not. They did not win the election, so they can't be held to it. What they have done in terms of concessions from the Conservative manifesto is laudable. If anything, Liberal Democrat voters should be proud. A lot of things have to be cut, a lot of sacrifices have to be made. Some of it WILL be driven by ideology, some by pragmatism and some simply because there is no room for any kind of manoeuvring...
They would have probably kept the pledge at the cost of something else - HAD they won outright, which we all know was highly unlikely. So why is university funding a more emotive issue than cuts in primary and secondary education or weekly bin collections or cuts in speed cameras? Well that's because some interest groups are more easily led (and mobilised) than others. Students are a classic case. They say that if you aren’t a liberal at 20 you have no heart. And if you’re aren’t a conservative at 40, then you have no head.

The tragedy is that most students in the UK have no idea what it's like to want an education so badly that you'd walk bare feet for 10 miles and study under street lamps. What they're objecting to is freebies being withdrawn. Like a spoiled child. The truth is nothing is free. Someone ends up paying for it. The old system makes posties and cleaners pay for educating doctors and diversity officers. What do they get in return? Nothing. Nothing at all.

Yeah, the argument is that we need doctors, we need teachers, doctors, dentists, etc. But we pay them handsomely for it, through our taxes or incomes. Should we pay for their degrees too? I don't think so.

This isn't about Tory-Labour-LibDem. It's about being so fanatically socialist (liberal?) that peoples' sense of responsibility is usurped and they end up completely impotent and dependent on the state. I'm no Neocon, but I don't think a race towards the lowest common denominator is the right way for any society.

I talk from experience in the real world. Actual people, actual capabilities, actual claims of competence. And actual let-downs. A few days ago, I got into a discussion with a sales assistant who said her 3-year, £18K, 'Meeja studies' degree was a way of 'finding herself' and a hobby', and I'm thinking - "I helped pay for that? Sheesh!"

A few days ago, I was debating this with a group of young people, one of which was a protester. I asked him if he'd read The Browne Report. His answer? "Wots dat?" A truly jaw-dropping, facepalm moment.

What students SHOULD be protesting against is the level and standard of education (dumbed down GCSEs to break records each year, Mickey Mouse degrees that mean nothing in the real world).
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