Dave Osler thinks that Universities should be “funded entirely from general taxation“. Look man, if a course was free, accessible and – let’s say – seven hours a week then any teen would gleefully enroll. It doesn’t take more than a pinch of rational self-interest to see that it would be cheaper and easier than the other options. Most attendees would gain little, leave, become taxpayers and be sorely out of pocket.
Frankly, there’s no need for 45% of young people to go to University. Some don’t have the aptitude; others the enthusiasm. Trust me, I’ve just dropped out and the number of students who were yawning their way through six weekly hours of arts degree was shameful. It’s a waste of their and other people’s time and money and, as David Hepworth notes, will only serve to lumber them with knowledge that can’t be fulfilled. (Oh, and massive debts, naturally.) What are millions of drama, writing, journalism and arts students going to do with the knowledge they acquire? (Having fun is no bad reason but, I think, should be paid by oneself.) It’ll just lead to swathes of underwhelmed retail assistants and, perhaps, a disconcerting rise in wasted street performers.
It’s not that I’d deny people the chance of attending, it’s that I think that University has been wrongly promoted as the best of all affairs. Vocational courses are undervalued. Officials urge on school leavers. Employers use degrees as a bottom line of competence; like bouncers rejecting folk who justly didn’t see the point in wasting money on a tie. One doesn’t need these courses and qualifications to be skilled, curious or inspired. In fact, they can all leave one dim, debt-saddled and disillusioned. This generation is a speculative bubble.