12 November 2010

Student Finances and Fees

I'm in a dilemma over this one, the increase in tuition fees has riled many students, alienated others and possibly will deter some students from going down the route of a conventional university education.

I know the Open University has seen a rise in the number of people applying for its courses as a direct result of the initial fees increase so I would anticipate another increase now that fees are up to £9,000 a year.

I got my degree through the Open University and consider myself proud to have achieved it my way without help and assistance of either employer or the Government.

However, where I disagree with the current situation (excluding the student riots which were deplorable and demonstrate their greed as well as appalling behaviour) is that no-one has addressed the need for graduates in certain fields, such as engineers, scientists etc. Why hasn't the Government seen the need for scholarships to encourage people into these streams of academia whilst providing less support for the most popular courses which are considered softer degrees.

We talk about the brain drain, and affect it has on our future in this country, but the toll of such appalling debts (even though the repayment factor is kept to only those who earn over £15,000 per year) is going to be even more disastrous.

It takes both sides to see the argument, but only one side can do something to make the changes necessary to make the future brighter.

1 comment:

soubriquet said...

I'm with you there.
A friend of mine worked two jobs and studied for an O.U. degree, and I've seen how dedicated and tenacious you have to be to do it. She now has a doctorate and is involved in oceanographic research.

I think too many people aspire to a university education whilst having no idea why or what they really want to do with their lives. It's just the thing to do after school.

There are hard degrees, with hard facts, a lot of real work, and there are woolly degrees, where everything's a matter of opinion, and nobody knows who's right or wrong.
A friend's son is studying structural engineering. His mates have time for booze and parties and computer games. Joe has not. He needs to absorb so much, produce real, verifiable work.
But at the end, he'll have real skills recognisable anywhere in the world. Whereas they'll be trying to get a job in "the media".

I'd like to see a gap year or years being compulsory. No, not a gap of backpacking and getting stoned in Goa, but a gap of getting a job, moving out from mummy and daddy's house, learning to do your own washing etc.
Then deciding on a degree course, with reasoned argument, not "Well, there's a really great nightlife and good bands and it's a cool place to live"