Wednesday, 10 November 2010

One way or the other, they'll get it.

Oh, the students.

OH has touched on the subject, and makes some salient points.

Make no mistake about it, one way or the other the only people who will pay for university education is those who get it, either directly as proposed or hidden away in taxation once they get a job afterwards. There will be no escape.

Consider this; why do so many people go to university these days? University used to be for the elite. Elite is not a dirty word, not when it is an elite based on academic merit. Something happened in the 60's and 70's, a section of the (not at all meritous) political elite thought that there was something wrong with working with your hands. It was something to be looked down on, there was something wrong with the working man actually working. The result now is that all children, regardless of ability or aptitude spend their whole lives in school being herded through the door marked 'academic excellence'.

There's a problem with that. Not all kids have the ability to be academically excellent. The solution we had was to lower the bar. The result? Those who are academically excellent find their excellence is watered down, those who are not clutch a fistful of qualifications as valuable as a barrow load of Weimar Republic Marks. This is not fair on either. You cannot have prizes for all, it simply does not work that way. I would love to be able to sprint like Usain Bolt, paint like Da Vinci, think like Einstein or compose like Mozart, but nature did not make me that way, there is nothing anybody can do to change that. Not one thing.

This current education system strives for mediocrity, and does not even deliver that. We have all been turned into apples, all of us. The marketplace is flooded with apples. These apples are so common that they are dirt cheap. How much for a banana? Don't see many of those, valuable things, bananas.

Be a banana.

If I had my time again, I'd have forgotten university, I'd have trained to be an electrician. You work for yourself, you are responsible for yourself, you command your worth. I fell into the trap of believing that university was the only way. I was wrong. Personally I got a great deal out of going to uni, academically it was pointless, a waste of three years.

Oh, to have had a trade. Yes, long hours, hard work. But your work. No office politics, no cuts, no pointless forms, reports, appraisals. I may yet still do it, if given the chop. Invest the redundancy payout in myself.

Why the hell did we do away with our secondary moderns, our polytechnics and replace them with degree certificates mass printed on rice paper? Why do we persuade people that the only choices are between debt ridden graduate or dole cheat? To try to persuade people that with a half-arsed effort they can be Bolt, Da Vinci, Einstein, Mozart? This is madness.

I should have been a banana.

I'm sorry students, but the money isn't there. Take over every building in Westminster. The money still won't be there. Unseat every LibDem MP in the country and replace with a scarlet red Labour MP. The money is still nowhere to be seen.

You are blaming the person who has realised there is a fire. Unfortunately, he hasn't got the guts to shout 'FIRE'. The person you need to blame is the one is the one who set the fire, the one who decided that everyone had to go to university. Who was going to pay for it? I'll tell you this, unless you take the red shilling (and I've never seen a more politically detached generation than this one), once you start to earn and study the deductions column on your payslip, your attitude will change reeeeaaalll quick.

Don't fall into the trap. Evaluate your situation. What will you do with that degree, what will you actually do with it? Unless that degree will give you access to a career path you have decided upon, civil engineer, vet, biochemist, doctor, ask yourself, is this worth the money?

Don't view this as a tax, don't view this as being screwed over. View the student loans people as a silent partner in You Ltd. This partner will want his investment back. Look at your place in the market, will this investment you are making in yourself produce a worthwhile return? If not, say 'I'm out', go and play to your strengths. You could have three year headstart in experience and valuable knowledge over your competitors.

There is always more than one route to the top and it may not pay to follow the herd. They may be heading to the slaughterhouse.

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