Monday, 31 December 2007

Too many university students

That's according to the CBI:
THE drive to expand university education has produced a generation of poor-quality graduates that employers do not want to hire, the head of the country's leading business organisation has warned.

In a stinging criticism of both the UK and Scottish Governments, Richard Lambert, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, claimed many employers believe "more means less" in terms of increasing student numbers.

My gut reaction is to agree with Mr Lambert but how can we really tell? The only way we'd know for sure would be if all higher education were to be privatised and if students (or parents or sponsors) had to pay the full fees. Then find out soon enough if too many (or indeed too few) graduates were being produced.

At the moment the education system is a producer-run cartel with all that implies. Here's a good example from the school world:

SCOTLAND'S largest teaching union will today call for action to cut class sizes. The Educational Institute of Scotland says all local authorities must do their bit or risk a class-size "lottery".
Actually, it's state-provided education that's more akin to a "lottery". The unions want smaller classes so as more of their members get jobs. Why don't they demand privatisation of education thus allowing good teachers to prosper?

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Andrew Duffin
"Why don't they demand privatisation of education thus allowing good teachers to prosper"

Whatever makes you think the Union wants good teachers to prosper?
12 January 2008, 14:52:03 GMT – Like – Reply

Nice post, David.
6 January 2008, 07:50:12 GMT – Like – Reply

Neil Craig
Statistics show class size is largely irrelevant to performance. It does however have a very direct correlation with the number of teachers needed, particularly important as numbers of children are falling & it does help politicians to look like they are taking action. That being a job requirement - looking like not actually acting.
4 January 2008, 14:23:48 GMT – Like – Reply

What employers often whinge about is graduates' failure to grasp the sort of material taught in Primary School and early Secondary School. In which case, it's not clear what the purpose can have been of sending such barbarians to Uni anyway.
1 January 2008, 16:22:59 GMT – Like – Reply

Anon A Moss
You have highlighted two issues:

1. Schools

This is merely self interest by the Teaching Unions, the fact is that school rolls are falling at such a rate that closures are inevitable and the unions hope that by cutting class sizes they can avoid teacher redundancies.

2. Universities

Lambert, like Kinglsey Amis, is right, more means less.

While I generally sympathise with Mr Farrer's view that the market should dictate whether a higher education is a sensible investment or not, I think some sort of concessions would have to be made to the poor who would be put off by debt.

My own view is that nature dictates what is desirable in terms of numbers. To cope with a genuinely higher education a person requires an IQ of at least 110 (anything less is problematic), and preferably an IQ of 115 or higher. Based on this it should be around 15% of the population, but it could probably be stretched 25% at the very maximum.

Unfortunately if you have lunatic ideas about 50% then inevitably a lot of dumbing down is going to be have to be done for the half of them who do not have the intellectual capacity to cope with higher education, and also inevitable is that employers and the CBI will recognise who is employable and who is not.
31 December 2007, 19:40:00 GMT