The students are revolting. A lot of people claim to have known this already. Personally I didn't have the benefit of a university education so I can only look on in wonder and generally agree that they do appear to be pretty awful. Revolting might be going slightly over the top IMHO.
Photo via the BBC
Let's just play devils advocate here for a moment or two though....
The cuts mean that students could have up to a £38,000 pound debt. (medical students, significantly higher; but then it takes them significantly longer) If this sits uncomfortably with the student body, surely that leads us to believe that they personally do not value their education very highly.
If it costs £38,000 to earn a degree, does this not mean that an employer wishing to retain this so-called highly sought after level of education in it's staff would recognise that fact and gladly contribute towards that £38k debt?
So, thinking outside the box (to use the slightly dated parlance of our times)....
How about a minimum wage for graduates? Something like the national average annual income (currently circa £25k) plus 33% of the debt (£37k p.a. Total). During the first 3 years of employment this additional 33% is deducted at source and used to pay off the debt. After the three years this becomes part of the graduates normal salary. I'd say a 50% pay rise after 3 years is a pretty good incentive for the student and the employer has known fixed costs for a three year period as well as a highly educated resource.
Of course, if employers don't want to employ graduates, which they may feel are aren't good value for money, well that's their choice. If they'd rather have employees that don't know the difference between William Shakespeare and William Shatner*, or would rather educate their staff to fit their mould, they're perfectly entitled to do so. How about not going to university and getting a job three years ahead of the graduates? Bring back on the job training and apprenticeships.
I'm just shooting the breeze here. I'm sure there are holes the size of Spain in these ideas, but maybe they're a place to start coming up with a new approach or at least a method for fixing the problem.
In the meantime, I'm far from sympathetic to those involved in the scenes we witnessed yesterday, but that doesn't mean I'm not sympathetic to their cause. Education should be free. Sadly we have a generation of debt to deal with, so everyone has to pay. And that means everyone. No exceptions.
I'll leave you with video evidence (from Wednesday) of what happens if you don't educate your engineers in the basic pricinples of physics....
* Interestingly, even though I missed the university education I'm all too aware of the differences between Mr Shakespeare and Mr Shatner, although it's worth noting that Mr Shatner has an opinion on Mr Shakespeare.
Very eloquently put, but while we're here, I feel I must remind you if these two gems. I mean really??
Captain Kirk. We salute you. Those were some serious drugs in the 60's.
This post originally appeared here: Posterous