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Old 12-25-2005, 11:00 PM   #1
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The 'new' UK universities...

Back in 1992, the UK government recognised that higher education needed to be made more accessible (as it still does today). The supposed solution was to turn the polytechnics into new universities. Before I go any further, I'd like to say that in my opinion, everyone should have the opportunity to enter higher education, if they wish to do so, and are capable. I believe, however, that the polytechnic/university system worked better than our current practice.

Polys provided the more practical, 'hands on' education, while universities concentrated on more 'academic' teaching methods. Ideally, it makes sense to balance the two, with the style of learning biased towards the individual. As opposed to streamlining all courses unrealistically spewing out a million identikit graduates, which is what happens now.

I feel that vocational training is extremely valuable, as are academic courses, and both are needed. I went to a 'traditional' university, while my brother (who is12 years older than me, and much more practical) went to an old-style polytechnic. My brother - even in the midst of the national recession - finished his course and got a job which has served him well. He had the education suited to him, and is now at the top of his field. Here I am 20 years later, and although I am now a retail manager, I intend to make use of my degree later on and become a higher ed teacher. Our personally tailored studies served my brother and I well... in many ways, he is better off!

There were major research funding issues that limited polytechnic research, I do understand that. I also realise that polytechnics were stigmatised in public perception. I don't see that turning all HE institutions into universities has patricularly helped students enter the job market successfully, though. I feel we've turned UK higher education into a debt-ridden mess that is failing us all, in the longrun.

Random but somehow relevant: I remember a friend graduating with a first class degree in engineering... and ending up back at McDonalds as a Crew Member within 6 months. Meanwhile, my alma mater has developed the 'Way Ahead Scheme'. The University admnissions team visit schools in the local area. They offer places to 14 year olds who hail from the university home town, regardless of their academic achievement, or lack theroef. Pardon me, but that's not what I slaved my arse off to get to uni for. It's a kick in the teeth for anyone who actually earned their place at the university, and I find it extremely insulting to local kids too. Would you want anything to do with an institution that assumed you were too dense to get in on your own merit?

Ever get the impression you've been sold down the river?
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Old 12-27-2005, 01:18 AM   #2
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I am glad to read your comments--they closely align with my own observations. Also, it's refreshing to see a younger person such as yourself, thinking about the truth of the situation as it exists, and questioning the validity of many of the changes in higher education that have occurred over the past decades, bringing it to its present state.

Your sentence in your first paragraph, "...think that everyone should have the opportunity to enter higher education, if they wish to do so, and are capable [my emphasis added]...", ties in nicely with your "random, but (very) relevant remarks in the last paragraph where you mention that scheme for inclusion of the university's locals... I agree completely with your reasoning in the point you make.

It always nice to see a good analytical mind at work...

Merry Christmas,

Katharine
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Old 12-27-2005, 02:13 AM   #3
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Thankyou - much appreciated.
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Old 12-27-2005, 06:28 AM   #4
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If I wanted to make money I would become a plumber.
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Old 12-27-2005, 11:32 AM   #5
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Hmm. Yes, well - I reckon you'd be taking the most profitable option there!
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Old 12-30-2005, 08:23 PM   #6
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Well, glad to see everyone is so concerned about the future of our graduates.
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Old 12-30-2005, 08:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
If I wanted to make money I would become a plumber.
in the US become an electrican
they get at least twice what a plumber gets and it is much cleaner work
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Old 01-04-2006, 03:18 PM   #8
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Apparently reports of plumbers raking in massive dough are overstated:- http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...8368_2,00.html

Although bricklayers and construction industry workers do pretty well I've heard. But there are risks of course.
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