Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Thursday, 4 November 2010

University Education

Reading today's papers, it seems that University graduates are to be indirectly taxed according to their subsequent earnings. It would appear that this is going to be achieved by charging the graduates with a rate of interest on their graduate loan which increases with earnings. Now I'm a firm believer that University students should contribute towards their education costs, and I also believe that the cost should be sufficiently high to discourage those "students" who want to go to university because "it is the thing to do". And yes, we also need to make some provision for poorer students, but charging a higher rate of interest on a loan makes no difference if you don't need a loan in the first place!

I think that we also need to be careful not to loose our best people abroad. The son of some acquaintances of mine is currently at a US University. I don't know how true it is, but they claim that a degree from one of the "Ivy League" universities is now worth far more in the world market than an Oxbridge degree. A friend has a daughter at the Sorbonne studying languages (OK, she speaks fluent French having lived there as a young child), and they tell me her costs are less than they would be in England. Both are undoubtedly very clever, and would do well anywhere, but they are the sort of people that this country needs, but is likely to loose, if we have an inept university policy.

What I would like to see is for any extra money raised from students to go directly to the University from which they graduated. This would mean that the better the University, the more of its students might expect to get highly paid jobs which in turn would provide higher funding enabling them to further improve their standards. This is effectively what happens in the US, and although it is not compulsory, most wealthy businessmen will invariably give quite large endowments to their Alma mater during their lifetime.
Of course this would mean the survival of the fittest, but isn't that what the world is all about?

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