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?"

Friday, 10 December 2010

Why so many students?

When I look at job advertisements (out of curiosity!), I notice that these days employers are demanding degrees for jobs which, in my young days, they would have merely asked for a school leaving certificate or possibly 3-4 "A" levels. Why? The jobs in question are basically the same as they were then, and one might, in fact, argue that they are easier these days due to the advent of computers and calculators. Why on earth do employers now want degrees for the same jobs?
One answer is that with so many people applying for some jobs it an easy way to sort out the candidates, but this is contrary to (what I understood to be) normal employment practices where one would try to avoid employing staff who were over-qualified for the job.
The only conclusion that I have reached is that today's equivalent of the school leaving certificate, several "good" "A" levels, is just not worth the paper it is printed on. All subjects in the old school leaving certificate had to be taken at the same time, there were no modules which you could take and then forget, and if you failed (or got an insufficient grade) in one subject, you had to re-sit the lot. Now, given time, it is virtually impossible not to pass a good selection of subjects.
Thus, there is no doubt in my mind that the only reason employers now ask for degrees is because they feel that standards have fallen so much that that a first degree is now equivalent to the School Leaving Certificate of my days.

This explains why education costs have risen so much, and why we have so many students. It is now taking three years longer to reach an acceptable standard of education for "ordinary" jobs, and of course for jobs that once required a first degree, a master's is now essential.

We need to restore real standards in all our schools; we need to make sure that instead of being 25th in the league table for reading ability we are in the top five. We need to take similar action with maths, where we are currently 30th and science where we are 16th. If we were to manage this, probably only half the present numbers of students would need, or want to go to university. Our poor lower schools are to blame for this university fees situation along with constant left wing politically correct interference and a total lack of discipline, and now those students who would like to better themselves are feeling the pain.

With good standards at eighteen, possibly only half the present numbers of school leavers would want (or need) to go to university, overall costs would fall, and free tuition could be restored at a smaller number of highly respected world beating universities

As a footnote, until yesterday's demonstrations, I had some sympathy for the protesting students as I felt that the education system had let them down by not providing adequate education at secondary level; now I am starting to wonder whether they were the ones responsible for the disruption and poor behaviour in our schools which is a significant cause of this poor education.

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