Funding cuts?!

I just read this article, right. I’m appalled by the ever-increasing pool of bullshit that is politics. It seems that no one speaks anything true, any more. It’s all about branding, I guess. Each political party, or brand, needs to put forward policies that are popular with the majority of its most common voters, to increase brand share. However, I reiterate, people do not know what they want. Ever. They change their mind, and politicians soon follow suit.

However, there’s one other thing that can, and will also change policies as quickly as snow falls: the shit-storm. The shit-storm has been around for a long while, as long as Marmite, or sliced bread, I’d say. A shit-storm is usually the result of a miscommunication within the political dirge, and the above article highlights such an event.

They’re cutting university funding. They’re increasing research budgets, but they’re cutting a whopping £84m from the capital funding budget, which pays for things such as buildings, and resources, and £51m from the teaching budget. How do ‘they’ (Hefce, the Higher Education Funding Council of England) plan to do this? Promote shorter courses geared towards ‘more vocational’ subjects. NO! No, no, no, no, no!

Regular readers will remember my earlier rants about how degrees aren’t really worth much, any more. Let me stress, I think it’s a wonderful thing that more people are going to university, studying, and broadening their horizons. Indeed, the number of people going into higher education surged last year, which Lord Mandelson claims was a result of the economic turmoil that we’ve been experiencing. Getting a job was suddenly less of a viable option before, so more kids decided to go into higher education, and ride out the recession. I had always planned to go to university, but I, too, was one of those kids.

That makes sense, but being surprised that numbers of new university students aren’t declining does not. Again, let me stress that it’s a great thing that more people are going to university. Has this undervalued the worth of a degree, nowadays? I felt that I had to go back into education in order to be able to find a job. I think that speaks for itself. However, encouraging shorter, ‘more vocational’ courses is not the way to fix money problems in the higher education sector.

I always associated ‘vocational’ qualifications with less academic vocations. Before I went to college, I wanted to do an NVQ in drama. This was when I knew very little about the whole post-secondary school process, and I was soon warned against it by my peers. It seems, then, that in wanting more people to study at university for less time, hence easing costs, the government would actually be encouraging more people to go to university, full-stop. It’s madness.

The Conservatives are promising more fully-funded university places, while my brain slowly implodes. Where is all this money going, and where is it all going to come from? I don’t have a clue, but one thing is for sure; the Hefce certainly needs to straighten up. I don’t want an ‘Ivy League’, and I definitely don’t want higher education to morph into something that resembles the American education system, with fees running into tens of thousands of dollars per year, which is something I can sadly see becoming a possibility, especially if things continue the way they are.


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