Friday 1 April 2011


The leaders’ debate the other night saw Tavish Scott, Iain Gray and the First Minister in agreement that Scottish education would remain free at tertiary level.

That’s good, and indeed it indicates that unless the parties do a massive U-turn along the lines of Nick Clegg and his bunch of chancers in England, education will remain free in this country.

We heard from the Tories that it is wrong for people who will earn more because of their degrees, to be subsidised by those who will earn less because they have no degrees. That presupposes that people always earn more when they have a degree but I can think of several organisations where under the average wage is the norm and degrees are a prerequisite of the job. It's true too that we ALL benefit from having a well educated, and appropriately educated workforce.

I think Tavish made a good point about there being alternatives to university. Not everyone, and not every job, requires a degree. Many jobs require technical and craft skills that can be obtained on courses at technical or commercial colleges although these too must be funded.

We need somehow to get away from the notion that the only jobs worthy of respect are those which require university degrees. It’s just not true, as you might reflect when your central heating goes on the blink, your car won’t start, your pipes are frozen or your computer goes BANG!.

And it should be remembered that a good plumber can earn an awful lot more than a teacher or social worker...and why not? There are many good jobs which pay excellent money and don’t need a university education.

Perhaps reflecting on whether or not it is necessary to take degrees in sports science or horse psychology, pop music or hairdressing management, cruise management, circus skills or surf science... all of which can be taken at universities in the UK is something that our funders might want to consider.

Surely all these courses could be covered at HNC/D level or as SVQs (NVQs in England)?

It’s estimated that now virtually every university in England and Wales will charge over the £6,000 which Cameron promised would be the norm, with many of them opting for the £9,000 without having shown a valid reason for it. In the meantime the salaries and costs of the management will doubtless continue to rise.

The government in London will be obliged to find a great deal more money, probably around a billion a year, to fund these costs up front, with their degree having cost some students nearly £90,000 by the time they make the last payment (The Independent).

Now that is a situation to be very much avoided. Why does the London government not think out their policies before putting them into practice?


  1. Rather than dumbing down university degrees we should upgrade vocational qualifications. The nonsense that everyone should go to university and get a degree that is impossible to fail in some useless toy-town subject drags down the standard of tertiary education. Now employers insist on a degree of some sort for the most mundane of jobs. To do that we will need to re-examine the standard of secondary education as well, highers and A levels it seems are no longer enough to get you a job as a clerk or a salesman, now you need a degree in art history or sport science to prove that you are mediocre.

  2. Well put Munguin. Folk are being persuaded that they need PGDs, masters degrees and doctorates to prove they are above average intelligence. It's a never ending pot of money for fat cat university management.

    It's madness. For example, some of the most inspirational instructors (teachers) have no qualifications. Parents, friends, coaches, can teach stuff in an interesting and absorbing way without ever having been to uni, or training college. You need to know what you’re teaching, have enthusiasm for it and be able to put that enthusiasm over. God knows I had teachers with all manner of qualifications who could have made a fortune as sleeping draughts!

    Not everything is like that of course. I wouldn't want to be operated on by a talented or enthusiastic amateur. But you make the point well that beefing up the SVQs to something like a serious examination and believable measure of talent and ability would be a good start to showing employers that there is no need for a four year degree course to do most jobs... and most assuredly not for circus skills!

  3. Look university's were created to keep the Ruling English class amused for a few years before going out and decimating the world.

    They perfect their inherited abilities to lie cheat steal rob con and generally be an all round cad.

    Those working class scum ruined it all they let a few in just cos they had a brain and then the impression was allowed to grow suggesting being educated would lead to a better life.

    well any post code investigation quickly disproves that old chestnut.

    If only the workers could just accept their place at the very bottom of the shitty heap we would all be much happier.

    If Cameron and Clegg get their way ten years from now we will have a few University for the sons and daughters of the Ruling English class.

    and lot of shite houses for the rest of the uneducated ruled classes to sweep out.
    and social mobility will revert to its proper meaning.

    the poor(or majority) can be mobile from one slum family to another slum family and the ruling English class can continue their inbreeding of rich family's which has given us the Cabinet of Cameron's Toffs.

  4. Mr Mxyzptlk - What utter mince! What has it got to do with the English. We and mst other countries in Europe have had universities for just s long as England.

    Univerities used to teach things that needed to be taught in university such as Physics, Medicine etc which only the richer people could obviously afford.

    Today like Tris says they are churning out people with Degrees in rubbish. I agree Tris that most jobs could be done with learning on the job like they used to be as you learn quicker when you are doing the same stuff day after day than you do with learning just a bit of everything over four years. An example is Accountancy, which I did at college and university, but you are still not an accountant till you get a job and pass all the actual accountancy body exams. Piece of nonsense as you could learn the job quicker and easier within a working environment.

    Companies just want the government to pay for the training of their workers re college and university at the expense of on the job training and that is why the standards are so poor in British companies these days with people coming in with taught experience of the job intead of work experience of the job.

  5. Billy, I think Niko was having a laff!!

    I think you're right about why so many things go wrong whether it is in business, or in the Civil Service/Local Government/NHS. It's becasue the staff are taken in with degrees, givien the induction training and left to get on with it. No on-the-job training. So no-one knows anything.

    I'm going to have to get in touch with the tax people next week to ask why I have had 5 different tax codes, and which one is actually going to be used. And no one will know, but they will tell me anyway. Nothing will happen and then I'll phone again and someone else won't know, but will tell me something different. Perectly well educated and badly trained people make a mess of things.

  6. Niko,

    The SNP, Liberals (ha ha ha ha we know what their guarantees are worth when it comes to student tuition) and labour have said that there should be no fees.

    As they are the two largest parties, I'm thinking that it is likely that that's what will happen.

    This is the result of the Scottish government having the power to make that decision.

    The fact that the new system is actually going to COST the English government billions during the first years as they have to advance the fees to the universities while the students are doing the courses, to be paid back to the government later, will (or should) bring Scotland a bonus in Barnet Consequential.

    SCOTLAND, standing on its own without England, can do that sort of thing.

    We would also not have taxed companies proposing projects that were likely to provide around 40,000 jobs, unlike the present government.

    And Danny Alexander is claiming that it was HIS idea. Osborne must be loving that!

    Vote SNP Niko. Come over from the dark side.

  7. Politics is another nonsense subject as all it teaches is how to spin lies as the truth.

  8. Comes in handy as the rich boys' degree at Oxford. They don't really have to know much, just name drop a few of the people who've been round to dinner and they get a first. Then daddy bestows a library or fixes the chapel roof.