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Everything posted by Cogs

  1. But I did go to that school, just in an industrial town without any industry (thanks Maggie). Or rather stopped going after a bit for various reasons. The solution is pretty simple; take responsibility for your own education. Its a big scary world and life is tough, kids do understand this earlier than you think if only various figures don't think they are being helpful by pretending otherwise. I've written about this before so I won't go on but there is a reason members of the trades union movement did without to put money into libraries and they knew exactly what they were doing, thanks guys (I could cry quite honestly). Some measure of power (never mind the means of passing poxy exams) over your life and your future available for free on so many street corners, and nobody wants it...go figure. As an aside, this is my main objection to coursework in schools, it drags the independently minded and responsible down to the same level as the feckless and it really just measures the school and obedience to its dictats in the pupil. But in general I think all this schools-are-evil and so on stuff is overblown, you don't have to sign up to anything you don't want to. I knew what hoop jumping was about when I was 8 or 9 and I knew my parents knew as well if you see what I mean, I think that helped a lot in working out what mattered and was just to keep people happy, then prioritise as appropriate.
  2. Either get rid of Grammar schools or sort out the 11 plus. Alternatively, make grammar school applications purely a matter of sending in daddy's last bank statement which would at least be humane to the kids involved. All that said, I don't really get the hysteria over education in general. Bog standard 'sink' in one of the most deprived areas of the country, taught myself most of it, had a laugh, did OKish (subject to obvious crippling character flaws), don't really see where the drama comes from.
  3. You are out of your mind if you think any able student is going to come to work for you as a 'web developer'. Unless your name is Steve Ballmer or Sergey Brin, what do you have to offer? Very, very little I suspect. Perhaps there is an obvious reason you are getting applicants without "streetwise acumen". Of course the idea that a business would question itself as to why it was only attracting the runts of the litter are long gone, such soul searching is considered a bit old school when you can just whine and stamp your foot.
  4. Porca old chap, we all passed the old 11+. It doesn't exist in the same form now, the term is just shorthand. Indeed, it contains content that the state system is not allowed to teach these days (ie. it isn't in the national curriculum, state school teachers aren't allowed to teach to the test for the 11 plus, therefore it is a disciplinary matter to touch any of it even if they felt so minded, which they won't, because there will be 30 other kids who aren't sitting it). It is unrealistic to believe that under exam conditions, against the clock, eleven year olds are going to derive relatively heavy mathematics from first principles having never encountered them before. As the other commenter says, its public school on the cheap for those who can afford tutoring/private schools. The whole thing is a disgrace.
  5. In terms of applying for decent government grants today, you need letters of support from industrial partners and most of the time the general idea is that they should stump up some cash as well. Although it doesn't directly matter to me, I actually think the situation is getting pretty silly, god help us if going forward our universities can never do work that looks beyond a 3-5 year timeframe. In other countries they move this stuff off to government owned institutions that aren't universities, like TNO "knowledge for business" in Holland for example, which I think is a good model. We used to do that in a way through DERA but obviously they privatised the guts out of that and DSTL isn't really the same thing.
  6. You didn't read the link, they do. The idea that academic research is all ivory tower abstraction is a bit old fashioned and comes from people who have either never applied for a grant of a decent size or did so last 20 years ago. I haven't taken government money in years, plenty of private funding around if you are in a position to deliver something useful.
  7. Actually the swing in 1997 was almost entirely made up of middle aged women and reflected some fairly long-term social changes, mostly concerned with participation in the labour market.
  8. This a whiff of ******** around your claim you saved twice your gross salary in a mere four years. That is what people are being asked to do today. I don't know what "Nandos" are and I thought PCP was a drug. I don't recognise the rest of the picture and I seriously question how it is that an entire generation can be permanently intoxicated without my noticing it. This is just the old iPods argument isn't it, which is a bit silly. I can only smile at what you think normal is, perhaps you live in some sort of hellhole. This property you bought in a low, its not located under a bridge is it?
  9. As long as they keep a Tory government of aristocratic millionaires it is 100% guaranteed. They'll shut primary schools before they touch inherited wealth. There'd be no point the Tory party even existing otherwise, it is what they exist for.
  10. You are arguing with something that isn't up for debate. The 1960s pop culture movement was facilitated by young people, in considerable numbers, having a disposable income for the first time along with promises that the state would extend its protection to them from cradle to grave (a promise they cling to no matter where or from whom they have to get the money to do it). What I didn't say but it is even more relevant is that the 1960s saw the invention of disposable products; none of this pop culture ephemera was bought to last and it was assumed it would be thrown away. This is the absolute peak of consumerist behaviour, even if it isn't quite the same as the ongoing commodification of our lives. The Beatles themselves lampoon this tendency in their film A Hard Day's Night (George Harrison's individual scenes). The ages of the people providing entertainment and products is pretty irrelevant, there would have been no Beatles without young people able to buy fripperies like records and merchandise on a regular basis. They'd still be a pub band. I find it ironic you spend so much time calling other people stupid but of course good manners were the first casualty weren't they.
  11. If you mean to fund properly 10-20%, I guess so. But to actually cut participation to that level, as many seem to want to, would put us on a par with Peru and Mexico, well below the OECD average and the EU-19 average and, I think, in contradiction of the Lisbon treaty in that we'd be setting ourselves up to plunder the workforces of other countries. I'm not hellbent on expansion myself, but i think people have to start looking at the international comparison. Not all degrees from second or third tier institutions are terrible and useless either as we seem to want to pretend. Is someone with a good maths degree from Salford more useful to the nation than if they went to stack shelves in Aldi? I'd say they are. A lot of babys and bathwater getting chucked around here.
  12. I think this answers a lot of questions. So over the last 20 years our funding has been cut by more than a third and will settle at having been cut by about two thirds with a brief period of relief from student fees where the decline was temporarily arrested. This was made to look like a massive YoY rise but in truth it wasn't. If fees stay where they are, presumably we wind up at around a 50% total cut over 25 years. Its hardly a tale of endless taxpayer largesse is it. I think a lot of people get confused between HE and 'Education' which excludes HE. That grinding sound you can hear is the ladder being pulled up.[Damn thing won't let me add the image now so added in another reply below].
  13. That it allegedly still raging is an indication that there is no clear market signal in favour of it being put out and hence, everyone is fine with it continuing to burn. Absolutely nothing to see here, its a complete non-story of concern to nobody.
  14. To be fair that is how the travel industry functions even in the 'good' times. People I know in that sector get through 10 employers in a decade but never so much as move to a different desk...
  15. You've changed your mind then. In #14 you implied we'd blown the money on en-suite toilets and that we should receive, quote "a hefty cut in funding".
  16. Cheap crack and again, we're talking about elite institutions. If you believe that computer science at Cambridge or biosciences at UCL has added nothing to the international standing of the country, you are a fool.
  17. However you slice and dice it, the total is between 1.3 and 1.4 % of GDP which is by international comparison is a llittle low particularly given the rate of participation and the existence of elite world class institutions (where is the world class university in Bulgaria again?). The correct way to come at this is to look at the OECD reports and international comparisons. I'm getting a bit tired of seeing people advocate a participation rate that sub-saharan Africa would consider ludicrously low because its what we had in the 1950s and investment that the Belgians, with their Belgian Oxfords and Cambridges would think was cutting their own throats. The insular island-monkey mentality strikes again.
  18. Nonsense. HE in this country is held together with bailing twine and toothpaste. The standard to reach is set by our peers. Somehow we often manage it but when I'm going balls out to compete with someone in MIT paid three times as much as me with ten times the funding and the staff don't tell me i have no idea about doing more done with less. We've already had a 40% pay cut and been given twice the work to do of the last generation. Furthermore, most of what you are complaining about are actually attempts to generate revenue so I don't really get what your problem is with it. I also don't understand why you think we should throw away one of our last decently performing export markets. Yes, if only we build Halls of Residence students don't want to stay in we'd be fine!
  19. it generally costs a little more. The Royal Society of Chemistry reckoned it cost about 1.5k extra per place per year than universities get paid overall, which is why departments are being shut. Generally we tend to subsidise out of research funds, this is what post-docs and PhD students doing teaching is actually about.
  20. The article is talking about elite institutions. I very much doubt demand for engineering at Cambridge or medicine at UCL is down to those factors and would vanish into thin air if only a nice job in carpentry opened up and those involved found a work ethic from somewhere. I love the way that demand from customers is always the gold standard...except in this particular case. Axe to grind much?
  21. Apologies to all in that this is more of a bookmark than a discussion starter but I have waited an awfully long time for a sensible discussion on this issue setting out some reasonable principles and, importantly, an account of the political history that has lead us to the present situation. Finally the much anticipated day has come. http://www.telegraph...oliticians.html A glimpse of old school high quality journalism that leaves you more, rather than less, informed for having read it. Pretend I wrote something massively offensive and incendiary if that is what it takes to make you read it
  22. 12% according to the official figures. How about we give them twice as much and use the rest to build playgrounds with. Why does, say, Lakshmi Mittal, the 3rd richest man on the planet, need me to give him extra money more than kids on an estate need a playground?
  23. As per the 'number crunching' section in Private Eye: Scapped, to save 250 million: Retained, at a cost of 2.7 billion: Granny and Grandad are the reason you can't play out kids, they need the money for cruises and nights out. They are 'frontline Tory voters' it would seem.
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