Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

One-In-Four University Degree Courses Axed 'to Save Cash' Over Last 6 Years


Recommended Posts

There are a number of problems here.

Universities chased International for the fees with STEM subjects prior to the new fees regime. They did not put so much effort into encouraging British UGs to study STEM.

This was a mistake, as British culture and society does not particularly recognise the worth of STEM subjects anyway, and does not convey the idea that STEM bods can be "successful", "well-paid" and/or "glamorous" people. That role is for the "celebs" or people on TV, so the image of "success" became tied to media exposure and certain roles: actress, singer, presenter, footballer etc. For the upper-middles, this became working in TV, news journalism, politics, design, new media, that sort of thing -- all public exposure roles of some sort, because that is kinda the only thing that is presented as "successful."

Add to that further problems, such as the fact nearly 75 percent of all British school leavers (and that is being very kind) just do not leave school with the knowledge base to even apply for a STEM course, and you end up with STEM having to compete over a very small pool of UGs AND compete with misguided social and cultural ideas of which course is going to be the avenue to "success" and a good standard of living.

Then we also have STEM rationing. This has traditionally been appalling when it comes to medicine (and is becoming blatantly ludicrous when it comes to midwifery). Every time someone says how much we rely on foreign doctors to work in the NHS, I am reminded of the 18 year olds I knew when I was young that could not get a place in a British medical school despite having As at A level in the sciences, with a working knowledge of GP practice (parents were doctors etc).

In my view, British attitudes to real knowledge (STEM etc) in the last twenty years have a lot to answer for -- and I say that as an Arts and Humanities grad whose contemporaries are now part of the "grand shuffling-paper office churn" that plagues Britain.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a number of problems here.

Universities chased International for the fees with STEM subjects prior to the new fees regime. They did not put so much effort into encouraging British UGs to study STEM.

This was a mistake, as British culture and society does not particularly recognise the worth of STEM subjects anyway, and does not convey the idea that STEM bods can be "successful", "well-paid" and/or "glamorous" people. That role is for the "celebs" or people on TV, so the image of "success" became tied to media exposure and certain roles: actress, singer, presenter, footballer etc. For the upper-middles, this became working in TV, news journalism, politics, design, new media, that sort of thing -- all public exposure roles of some sort, because that is kinda the only thing that is presented as "successful."

Add to that further problems, such as the fact nearly 75 percent of all British school leavers (and that is being very kind) just do not leave school with the knowledge base to even apply for a STEM course, and you end up with STEM having to compete over a very small pool of UGs AND compete with misguided social and cultural ideas of which course is going to be the avenue to "success" and a good standard of living.

Then we also have STEM rationing. This has traditionally been appalling when it comes to medicine (and is becoming blatantly ludicrous when it comes to midwifery). Every time someone says how much we rely on foreign doctors to work in the NHS, I am reminded of the 18 year olds I knew when I was young that could not get a place in a British medical school despite having As at A level in the sciences, with a working knowledge of GP practice (parents were doctors etc).

In my view, British attitudes to real knowledge (STEM etc) in the last twenty years have a lot to answer for -- and I say that as an Arts and Humanities grad whose contemporaries are now part of the "grand shuffling-paper office churn" that plagues Britain.

Amazingly accurate post.

The unintended consequence of the fees regime has seen universities running scared about future income. The politics of large institutions like unis mean that the small courses - many of which create high value, specialist grads that UK needs are vulnerable. Media Studies, English, etc, all have a big voice in uni policy and allocation of resource. So in my institution (Russell Group), English Lit were able to bully smaller but more 'employable' subjects and get a bigger slice of the resource. Similarly, Political 'Science' is eating up the resource of more 'employable' subjects like Education, International Development, etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazingly accurate post.

The unintended consequence of the fees regime has seen universities running scared about future income. The politics of large institutions like unis mean that the small courses - many of which create high value, specialist grads that UK needs are vulnerable. Media Studies, English, etc, all have a big voice in uni policy and allocation of resource. So in my institution (Russell Group), English Lit were able to bully smaller but more 'employable' subjects and get a bigger slice of the resource. Similarly, Political 'Science' is eating up the resource of more 'employable' subjects like Education, International Development, etc.

Yet it is the students who decide which courses to subscribe to. The university must respond to it's customers and a course with no takers will be cut.

The problem arises from the concept of the university, a place which offers all knowledge. As knowledge has expanded, it becomes impossible for any institution to remain universal. What is required is more specialization. A liberal arts university can offer media studies courses for those few that want it, yet other institutions should not. When they say "courses have been cut", I suspect they mean they have been cut at that particular university. The same courses are still available elsewhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yet it is the students who decide which courses to subscribe to. The university must respond to it's customers and a course with no takers will be cut.

The problem arises from the concept of the university, a place which offers all knowledge. As knowledge has expanded, it becomes impossible for any institution to remain universal. What is required is more specialization. A liberal arts university can offer media studies courses for those few that want it, yet other institutions should not. When they say "courses have been cut", I suspect they mean they have been cut at that particular university. The same courses are still available elsewhere.

The market provides what the people wants....

Unfortunately no one has the skills to operate the levers of demand supply anymore, as everyone wants to be Alex Zane on the telly instead.

Edited by PopGun
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a thought, maybe we don't have enough quality highly educated teachers that's required to teach the specialised subjects that industry in this country requires....I know from people that I have spoken to that IB is becoming more popular and beginning to be taught more widespread in this country. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a thought, maybe we don't have enough quality highly educated teachers that's required to teach the specialised subjects that industry in this country requires....I know from people that I have spoken to that IB is becoming more popular and beginning to be taught more widespread in this country. ;)

i thought the tories were getting on top of Incapacity Benefit claims?

Edited by Tamara De Lempicka
Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately no one has the skills to operate the levers of demand supply anymore, as everyone wants to be Alex Zane on the telly instead.

Cheap shot. I tutor A-level chemistry and biology students privately, and they seem to fall 50/50 into two camps:

1. Students of both sexes who go on to study a real STEM subject at a good university

2. Girls who want to study psychology

Interestingly, in my experience group 2 tends to come from richer families and private schools while group 1 is more middle class and state-educated.

The UK does have a celebrity culture, but not everybody follows it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's very simple:

You can charge 9k for a course. Any course.

If media studies courses cost you £8k per student per year and science course cost £12k per student per, which course do you close and which course do you encourage the students to take instead.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Amazingly accurate post.

The unintended consequence of the fees regime has seen universities running scared about future income. The politics of large institutions like unis mean that the small courses - many of which create high value, specialist grads that UK needs are vulnerable. Media Studies, English, etc, all have a big voice in uni policy and allocation of resource. So in my institution (Russell Group), English Lit were able to bully smaller but more 'employable' subjects and get a bigger slice of the resource. Similarly, Political 'Science' is eating up the resource of more 'employable' subjects like Education, International Development, etc.

I think one of the major problems is that young people making degree decisions have very little real-world, labour-price information; they simply do not know what the real world pays for certain jobs, skills and professions, so they are, essentially, making choices either blind or influenced by biased media and cultural representations.

Add to this the complete lack of any kind of coherent viable labour market vacancy distribution channel, and young people are not even aware of the opportunities that are out there.

For example, where I am, firms are desperate for engineers. Wages are going through the roof; people are being pulled out of retirement. One family friend actually tracked down an MSc grad, who was working in a retail shop on NMW, and begged him to join his firm -- he was that desperate for educated staff.

How did this happen? Well, how does a PG grad know about the smaller firms that will hire and pay well, maybe under contract to a bigger corp? Firms that don't have a big presence anywhere, that are too small to do the milk-round or too busy to engage in wider awareness programmes?

Again, how do young people in our area know that engineering is crying out for labour? They don't. So when they choose a degree, well, lets be honest, their A levels, even their GCSEs ... all they see is what appears to be true around them ... that the money is in media, journalism, politics, or the public sector so they choose a degree accordingly.

I find it very strange that the labour market is one of the oldest in the world; yet there is very little real data available on the current price of labour or vacancies across the entire market. I actually think one thing that would help our employment situation, young people's degree choices, higher education etc is if, by law, any vacancy had to be registered on a nation-wide database, along with preferred qualifications, experience and salary/wage band, and location ... and for that database to be open access to everyone, so we would have access to a real-time labour-market picture of the country.

It's very simple:

You can charge 9k for a course. Any course.

If media studies courses cost you £8k per student per year and science course cost £12k per student per, which course do you close and which course do you encourage the students to take instead.

I think under the new regime, government still subsidises the tuition fee costs of STEM subjects above £9K.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheap shot. I tutor A-level chemistry and biology students privately, and they seem to fall 50/50 into two camps:

1. Students of both sexes who go on to study a real STEM subject at a good university

2. Girls who want to study psychology

Interestingly, in my experience group 2 tends to come from richer families and private schools while group 1 is more middle class and state-educated.

The UK does have a celebrity culture, but not everybody follows it.

It was meant to be a cheap shot at market force theory, rather than yoof per se.

Sometimes the real world doesn't play out as claimed in economic text books.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For example, where I am, firms are desperate for engineers. Wages are going through the roof; people are being pulled out of retirement. One family friend actually tracked down an MSc grad, who was working in a retail shop on NMW, and begged him to join his firm -- he was that desperate for educated staff.

What sort of pay, what's the role?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think one of the major problems is that young people making degree decisions have very little real-world, labour-price information; they simply do not know what the real world pays for certain jobs, skills and professions, so they are, essentially, making choices either blind or influenced by biased media and cultural representations.

Add to this the complete lack of any kind of coherent viable labour market vacancy distribution channel, and young people are not even aware of the opportunities that are out there.

For example, where I am, firms are desperate for engineers. Wages are going through the roof; people are being pulled out of retirement. One family friend actually tracked down an MSc grad, who was working in a retail shop on NMW, and begged him to join his firm -- he was that desperate for educated staff.

I think that a key issue is that few teachers have worked in STEM industries so cannot relate to their pupils what the joys of such work are. Majority of teachers seems to specialise straight from uni so have no outside work experience at all (a bit like most of our politicians) - and look where it gets us.

:(

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheap shot. I tutor A-level chemistry and biology students privately, and they seem to fall 50/50 into two camps:

1. Students of both sexes who go on to study a real STEM subject at a good university

2. Girls who want to study psychology

Interestingly, in my experience group 2 tends to come from richer families and private schools while group 1 is more middle class and state-educated.

The UK does have a celebrity culture, but not everybody follows it.

Now your students are devide 50/50 into two camps. One camp is students of both sexes and the other is girls. Would that suggest that your students are about 75% girls?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Now your students are devide 50/50 into two camps. One camp is students of both sexes and the other is girls. Would that suggest that your students are about 75% girls?

You clearly studied maths rather than philosophy. Neither of which you'll be able to do in future.

Degree in David Beckham anyone?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think one of the major problems is that young people making degree decisions have very little real-world, labour-price information; they simply do not know what the real world pays for certain jobs, skills and professions, so they are, essentially, making choices either blind or influenced by biased media and cultural representations.

Add to this the complete lack of any kind of coherent viable labour market vacancy distribution channel, and young people are not even aware of the opportunities that are out there.

Spot on post.

But it's not only the salaries available. It's what a job actually involves, and whether there are any.

Careers advice is laughable at most schools. Students make choices based on what they 'like' doing. That can be influenced simply by favourite teachers, or good marks at GCSE. The exceptions are Asian and Chinese students, where parents have a great deal of influence, and invariably pressure kids towards A levels leading to a degree relevant to the traditional high-earning 'professions'.

I've worked on film/tv related degrees, and the level of ignorance demonstrated by 18 yr olds at university Open Days is staggering. The majority of potential applicants know next to nothing of the very industries they claim they want to work in. No teenager I've ever met has bedroom fantasies of being an actuary,a pharmacist or a solicitor, but hundreds of media wannabees have daydreams (and little else) as the foundation for their future career choice.

When told that 90%+(?) of the jobs in feature film are freelance, and that the UK film industry is essentially a cottage industry, with chronic job insecurity and permanent funding and distribution problems, they are surprised. Most do not even know what 'freelance' means. School careers libraries contain little to enlighten them, and careers advice provides little help. Many youngsters think they will be directing feature films before they are 25. When questioned about UK originated television, most kids I've interviewed admit to watching mainly American product. I've yet to meet one who knows who the principal Independents are in the UK; what the Film Council does (or did), or how audience viewing figures are arrived at.

I've offered schools with Media Depts a free session giving an insider's view of film/tv employment opportunities, and have been declined. It's usually 'there isn't a slot in the timetable', or we could only do it after school and 'that would conflict with school bus arrivals, or parents picking kids up in cars'. Subject closed.

The same schools are only too keen to have me in to talk on UCAS application and Personal Statements, because that affects destinations, performance tables and the school's 'success' rating. The fact that a lot of kids are heading into debt-laden degrees in subjects which will lead to no relevant job (or impossibly competitive work areas like film and tv, dominated often by nepotism) doesn't seem to interest them. Getting kids into a university is the prime consideration, it seems. After that - not our problem....

Edited by juvenal
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a real socialist government would offer free tuition to students able to study maths, science and engineering at university to build the infrastructure of the nation.

I loved science at school but my Maths was average at best but if I'd been able to dodge tuition fees I might have knuckled down and got myself up to scratch, chosen science over humanities, and made a go of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.