Friday, November 10, 2006

The Increasing Prevalence Of Multiple Diplomatosis

When Wosog and I both went to university (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth) only a small proportion of school pupils were expected to go onto Higher Education (around 10-15 %, I think). Now it seems that the job market of hi tech 21st Century UK plc requires a much higher proportion of the population to have a degree. I believe the current figure is over 40%, but The Powers That Be (in their infinite wisdom) would like it to be nearer 50%. Political correctness discourages the notion that many of today's degrees don't carry quite the same weight as degrees obtained in our day, but I suggest that the content of many of these courses, and the resultant poor job prospects conferred by their degrees leaves a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, the country is crying out for skilled tradesmen who can still, by some miracle, manage to perform some really quite complex tasks without, at present, having to have a degree.

The mindless expansion of Higher Education has created enormous financial difficulties for the universities, producing the ludicrous situation where students are to be asked to pay bigger and bigger fees to gain a degree that is essentially worthless when it comes to finding a job. Students who are being asked to pay these fees are now becoming more demanding. I heard on the radio yesterday that students of history at, I think, Bristol University are protesting about a lack of lecture time! The lecturers are being encouraged to do more research, since that brings money into the university. Meanwhile, the students are being told to do more work on their own, particularly online. Some of them are making the point that they could easily do that off their own bat, without paying hefty fees to the university!

The University of Bums on Seats seems to me to sit perfectly (pardon the pun) with the ethos of modern British Higher Education. It really sounds as if one could progress effortlessly through the courses there and leave brandishing a substantial piece of paper to wave under the nose of a prospective employer. In fact, Wosog awarded herself a PhD in counseling the other night. I have to call her Dr Wosog from now on. Their Fasttrack E-degrees sound like just the ticket for the disgruntled history students of Bristol.

The worrying thing is it could almost be real, or am I just being a bit cynical?