Sunday, 30 May 2010

Academic Sweatshop

That's what the idea of a two year degree has been called by the University and College Union and I'd have to agree with them. It's nothing more than a convenient way to save some cash whilst appearing not to cut front line education, people will still be getting degrees, but will they really be worth the paper they're written on?

For the life of me I can't see why education seems to be continually seen as a cheap target in the age of cuts and why people from all spheres seem to think that they can get away with scamming student out of their education, their cash, or maybe even both.

The UK is a small, insignificant little island in terms of numbers, the only reason we still have any importance is quality over quantity. Other than the US, we're the only country in the world to have Universities in the Top 10 in the world, and we have many of them at the very top. Our research is at the cutting edge and a lot of high-tech industry is based here, its the only way for a small nation to punch above its weight. Cut education and you take away the knowledge we need to compete.

Two year degrees will aim to cram all the information of a normal course into 66% of its time, it leaves staff overworked, students with burnout and little or no time for research. All you get extra is a bit more cash left over to churn out more and more of these students who graduate without the full experience they deserve. That shouldn't be the way we go. We should be ramping up education, making sure that we stay a world leader in innovation and not doing that by jacking students for all they've got.

It always seems to come down to a choice between education cuts or increasing tuition fees, that's a fallacy of exclusion, those aren't the only two options. What's needed is reform which makes the money the system has stretch further, instead of cutting or hiking costs the government should put on its collective thinking cap and get creative.

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