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Time to start closing universities

I learned, many years ago, that if I block my nose and keep my mouth shut, I can’t hum. It will, no doubt, come as no great surprise to anyone reading this, that I have never found that particular piece of knowledge to be of significantly positive value to my broad well-being in life. Of course, that knowledge is not a bad thing in itself. It’s a simple physical reality and it can’t do any harm to know it. But it isn’t much use. And isn’t useless knowledge just that; useless?

In the light of that, shouldn’t we be asking how many of our young people are today paying huge sums of money and incurring correspondingly huge, life limiting debts for the acquisition of degrees that will be of little or no use to them for their future?

Far too many university courses see the hapless student emerging from their graduation, triumphantly clutching a degree, but hopelessly untrained for anything, lacking any practical skills, and tens of thousands of pounds in debt.

There are two main types of course that are prominent in this situation. One is the ‘Mickey Mouse non-course’. Ten years ago the Taxpayers’ Alliance referred to these as ‘university degrees that lend the respectability of scholarly qualifications to non-academic courses’. It gave examples such as ‘Outdoor Adventure with Philosophy’, and ‘Aromatherapy and Therapeutic bodywork’.

The second is the ‘Humanities Subjects’ degree. By their very nature these degrees have limited practical applications. They are academic subjects. Academic can be defined as meaning either ‘relating to education and scholarship’ or ‘not of practical relevance; of only theoretical interest’. Either definition suggests limited practical application beyond teaching others.

Suffice it to say that, whilst a profound knowledge of say history can have real benefits, I find it hard to believe that either small businesses or the captains of industry and commerce are crying out to employ someone with a PhD in Gender Studies or The History of Feminism.

So, how did this disgraceful situation come about?

As with most fiascos, the original damage has mainly been done by politicians. The cry “education, education, education” from successive prime ministers, appears to have been presumed by some voters to herald change and improvement.

A plethora of new initiatives and schemes has been forthcoming. That the vast majority of them seem to represent a constant drive to replace what ‘worked’ with what ‘sounds good’, and that rarely has any betterment been the result, has never seemed to bother the establishment.  Indeed, their main concern appears to have been that the public should be unaware of the damage being done.

Surreptitiously, higher grades would have to be made easier to obtain, and university entry would have to be made available on substantially reduced grades. All this was designed to mislead impressionable young people to invest in an ‘academic’ course which was, at best, not their prime option and, at worst, an expensive folly which completely failed to recognise any alternative individual talents, gifts, strengths and aptitudes they might possess.

Young people and parents would have to be grossly misled as to the benefits of a university education. They would need to be told the unforgivable untruth that degree holders would automatically earn much higher salaries as a result of their qualification. It was also subliminally but seductively implied that they would achieve the nirvana of being ‘educated’.

People like Tony Blair assured them that 50% of young people going to university would ensure that the UK would have a highly skilled, graduate workforce that would enjoy their pick of copious, imaginary, highly paid jobs. The statistical and economic lunacy of that proposition is obvious.

Of course, the number of universities would have to be dramatically increased. Polytechnic Colleges would be upgraded, and various other minor technical and training colleges and assorted teaching establishments would be swept up and grouped together into new ‘universities’.

In 1960, with a population of 52 million, there were twenty-two universities in the United Kingdom. At that time, about 5% of eighteen year olds would attend one of them. Since that time the number of universities has increased by a factor of about six. The number of 18 year olds attending has increased to over 30%.

In 1960 the city of Bath had no University. Now, with a population of around 100,000, it has two! And newspaper reports inform us that the vice chancellor of Bath University, apparently the highest-paid in the country, has enjoyed a salary package of approximately £468,000 per annum. Also, that the vice chancellor of Bath Spa University, one of the smallest in the country, has been paid a package of approximately £800,000 in her final year in the job.

So the university gravy train grows and flourishes. A report in The Times in 2016 informed us that ‘Universities were borrowing £3bn for a new boom’. Multi-million pound loans were being borrowed from, amongst others, the European Investment Bank (my word, what a surprise!). The universities, of course, tell us that they are ‘centres of excellence’. Some are. Many are not.

Surely, we need urgently to stop this disgraceful exploitation of our young people. We need to rapidly reduce the number of universities and increase the number of training centres for practical and applied skills. We certainly do not need any more comfortable and secure hubs of academic and political activism.

While we’re at it, I suggest we promptly expel the troublesome minority of students who trample so noisily, violently and ignorantly on the freedoms and rights of others. They are short term guests yet they aggressively and disrespectfully demand idiotic, historic, economic, social and political changes in long-established institutions, some centuries old. Their bigotries know no bounds. Kick them out. There are plenty, more deserving, waiting to take their place.

We need students who are taught how to think, not what to think; and who emerge informed, prepared and trained for the workplace.


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About Howard Keating (6 Articles)
Howard Keating has been a member and a UKIP foot soldier since 2011

11 Comments on Time to start closing universities

  1. During my final interview with my grammar school head I was able to read (upside down) on my file before him, “University potential – nil”. What a lucky escape. But trouble lies ahead for UK universities I believe. This year, depending on which report one reads, UK University sector pension schemes have a deficit of (max) £17.5 BILLION. Obviously there’s a vacancy somewhere for a degree level mathematician.

  2. SIZE 15CARBONFOOTPRINT // December 16, 2017 at 12:06 am // Reply

    The universities need clearing out , and getting rid of the useless degrees , such as wimmins studies , sociology , psychology , modern dance , leisure management , sports science , and all the rest of the politically correct nonsense .

  3. Howard – Absolutely agree! I used to lecture at universities, it was convenient for me because of my interests in sailing, flying, scuba-diving, women wine and song, I could just work when I needed to, when I wasn’t engaged elsewhere.

    Now I hate universities for all of the reasons you state above and I could list many more. I now regret the years I spent involved with these institutions and try not to think about them.

    I spent a hour on Skype arguing with my son last night. He’s recently graduated from a so called top university with a Masters and First Class Honours.

    It’s amazing how somebody so bright can spout so much politically correct garbage.

    The trouble is too: very few people need such academic training, it’s a tragic waste of money that would be better spent on more vocational training or professional qualifications.

    Modern degrees are so generalised a series of thirteen week modules, maybe a couple or four hours a week, at the end of which the student has a vague knowledge of the subject.

    At the end of a degree course a student has no real marketable skills and a fortune will have to be spent on their training if they are to enter a profession. So many of these students can’t even read or right very well.

    Bloody waste of ours and their money!

  4. Free the 17.4million // December 14, 2017 at 8:57 pm // Reply

    Oddly despite the insistance we can all become computer programmers in the future, rather than Baristas, computer science graduates have one of the highest levels of unemployment amongst graduates

  5. I never went to university. I did extremely well in my GCSEs at High school, and was considered academically bright, being encouraged to go to sixth form college and on towards university. Looking back, I know now that I was being pushed along a path that I wasn’t comfortable with; I was interested in computers, but was being emotionally bullied by my French teacher and her Latin tutor husband. While I did pass an Oxford entrance exam, I ended up failing my A-Levels (well, two D’s anyway), after losing interest in the whole education system. I’ve done quite well for myself though, worked in a lot of shitty jobs for shitty companies for many years, but my current job with an ecommerce retailer beats all. I may not have a degree, I may not be very well paid, but I have a great rewarding job, and a modestly comfortable lifestyle. And I get to work with computers and stuff. So in the end, I won. 😉

  6. Successive governments have by this means
    Increased the number in work.
    Increased GDP,
    Removed kids from the unemployed statistics.
    Invigorated the building trade.
    Strengthened The finance sector with immensely profitable loans. ( Cheaply acquired assets )

    We have the 5 th biggest rubbish GDP in the world.

  7. A University course should be as much about critical thinking as the course material itself. Universities are hotbeds for left wing agendas and the attending students swallow this diet. They leave University indoctrinated and incapable of thinking for themselves. Attempts by groups (UKIP) to counter the narrative are “shut down”, often in a unpleasant way. Moreover, the University has become a vehicle to create the social change that left wing socialists and Marxists crave. Close them now.

  8. As I recall, the Labour Government justified charging for university education on the basis that employees with degrees receive higher salaries than the average. This, of course, totally misses the point that the more people with degrees the more the average changes!

    I continue to be amazed that there is never any mention of the Open University as an alternative and cheaper route to a degree qualification.

  9. I agree many degree subjects are totally pointless. I take more issue with companies who seem very reluctant to provide students with “year out” placements which, particularly in STEM subjects, can be a help in providing hands-on work experience. My own son contacted over fifty companies prior to his final year, with a view to placement, and not a single one even bothered to reply. He now has a first class honours computer science degree and is still job-hunting. Degree courses obviously can’t provide “work experience” but employers still demand degrees!

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