With all the furore over the amount of prospective students applying for university both last year and this, and the developing fear over an increase in tuition fees, I think it is fair to say that the Government’s target of getting 50% of young people into Higher Education has failed. When examined, it is clear to see this plan was a complete folly to begin with.
For starters, there are only a limited amount of jobs on the market, which means the argument that a degree earns you X amount more in a lifetime is void. Whilst companies in certain sectors will have far more choice of candidates with degrees, there is still only a certain amount of jobs on offer, which is going to leave an awful lot of young people disappointed and angry that they’ve been essentially misled into owing up to £20,000 in loans.
Plus, the simple fact is that some people just aren’t cut out for Higher Education and it is not their aspiration to go to university. It is unfair to essentially force them into paying so much a year for something they don’t really need to do.
Why doesn’t the Government invest more in alternative forms of higher education, such as apprenticeships, so then they can then revive that sector of the industry, give a much-needed boost to the economy as a whole, and help young people into a viable alternative to university study which they may actually enjoy?
In addition to this, that means the Government does not have to subsidise higher education to such an extent, as there are less students to have to give money to in loans. The money saved in not giving out so much in loans can be invested in much more efficient alternatives such as apprenticeships and internships.
As there will be fewer students going into higher education, universities have to offer the best that they can in terms of educational services to get the students onto their courses. Effectively this leaves more power in the hands of prospective students, as they can pick and choose the course they believe is best.
Of course, this means some universities will end up closing down as they cannot offer enough to attract students to their institutions. This need not be seen as a bad thing as, in my opinion, there are far too many universities in the UK in the first place. The bottom level universities offer places to students with as little as 80 UCAS points, which simply devalues the status of an undergraduate degree.
Thus, this reduces the already heavy financial burden on universities, which is leading to the proposed rise in tuition fees. The Government will not have to stretch their funding so tightly and, in turn, this should lead to at least a stabilisation in the amount of tuition fees paid by students to supplement university funding.
The more it’s analysed, the more the Government’s target of getting 50% of people into Higher Education seems detrimental to all parties concerned. It leaves the Government throwing an increasing amount of money into a black hole, universities are essentially under-funded (not strictly their fault), meaning students are paying more and more for a sub-standard level of education. Perhaps it’s time this ridiculous target was scrapped..
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