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Too many universities teaching useless degrees
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
Location: Home

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johncoan wrote:
What does this have to do with ESL?


About as much as someone bemoaning the lack of Hellmann's Mayonnaise in Berlin?
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johncoan



Joined: 02 Jul 2010
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surprised
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1945

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 10:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Dodgy? Reply with quote

slapntickle wrote:
A dodgy degree is one that has no market value(ie, won't get a student a job) and has not imparted any real skills that the student can use in the real world upon graduation. Clear?


What's clear is your failure to develop your argument beyond newspaper soundbites or support it with hard facts.

The Greek Reporter article mentions the increasing number of Greek students undertaking postgraduate study. It does not, however, comment on the vocational relevance of the subjects studied. Given that unemployment in Greece is more than 24% compared to the EU average of 10%, it's hardly surprising that graduate unemployment there is also high.

The BBC article reports that "China's education ministry has already indicated that it wants to turn 600 universities into polytechnics, providing more technical and employment-related courses, rather than academic and theoretical subjects." Aha, some "dodgy" degrees at last, but not from UK universities.

The article also states that in China "a view is widespread ... that jobs only go to those with political connections, rather than qualifications or skills", which contradicts your claim that Chinese students believe degrees from UK universities confer an advantage in the job market.

The Middle East Eye article mentions graduate unemployment in Tunisia within the context of the ongoing economic crisis there. It does not contain any references to Tunisian students being duped into taking useless, worthless or dodgy degrees, either at home or in the UK.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 264

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:28 am    Post subject: Re: Dodgy? Reply with quote

grahamb wrote:
What's clear is your failure to develop your argument


It doesn't need developing. The facts speak for themselves. Once again: A degree is dodgy if it doesn't yield a return on a massive investment in time and money. Many students are SOLD degrees under false pretenses. The aggressive agents in the US who work in the for-profit sector are evidence of this. They work for commission and not in the interests of the students. Likewise the schools work for shareholders and not for teachers or students. The UK unfortunately is following this model and it will be the death of the one industry that Britain has left to sell to the world:

https://www.ucu.org.uk/stopprivatisation

On a micro level, British degrees themselves have lost their value because of something called grade inflation. With more first class degrees being offered to mediocre students, is it any wonder employers are having trouble working out who whether a graduate has the apposite skills to do the job or not. In other words, the fact that a graduate has gained a first-class degree doesn't necessarily translate into first-class skills:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/12100610/Record-number-of-first-class-degrees-awarded-to-students.html

The reason why all these first-class degrees are being awarded is because second-rate for-profit universities want to attract students with the promise of a high pass, but in doing so the school will devalue the university - and the sector - over time.

A related issue is that of dumbing down courses so that weaker students, many of them international students with dodgy levels of English, are able to pass. In another thread I report how many universities are putting more emphasis on coursework rather than a final exam to get weak students through the course. Pass marks too are being lowered to ensure passes. Teachers who blow the whistle on this practice are not having contracts renewed:

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/584050/British-universities-dumbing-down-degrees-more-students-graduate-top-class-honours

With all this crap going down, is it any wonder that some are concerned about the future:

However, he added that this “vital lifeline” is increasingly at risk because, for the first time this year, the UK saw international student numbers fall, with “significant drops” from some countries.

The reasons for this drop are many, but one thing is for sure: international students PERCEIVE that our universities aren't as good as they used to be. In fact, much of our reputation as a country of academic excellence derives from the fact that we have a few prestigious institutions who make up the Golden Triangle that skew the average and consistently get us a favourable ranking in the international league tables. But with all the dodgy practies going on in our schools, is it any wonder that students are switching to better and cheaper European brands?

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/uk-dominates-european-university-rankings-as-oxford-cambridge-and-imperial-college-london-take-the-a6922466.html
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1945

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Dodgy? Reply with quote

slapntickle wrote:
In fact, much of our reputation as a country of academic excellence derives from the fact that we have a few prestigious institutions who make up the Golden Triangle that skew the average and consistently get us a favourable ranking in the international league tables.


Not just a few: according to the THE rankings quoted in the article, the UK accounts for 78 out of the top 800 universities globally, and 34 out of the top 200.

Cost is not the only reason why European universities are attracting more international students; the increasing availability of degree courses in English is also a significant factor.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 264

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 3:01 am    Post subject: Re: Dodgy? Reply with quote

grahamb wrote:
Not just a few: according to the THE rankings quoted in the article, the UK accounts for 78 out of the top 800 universities globally, and 34 out of the top 200.


Yes, the UK might be punching above it's weigh right now, but more and more it is relying on its past grandeur to convince international students to study here. For example, how often is Shakespeare and Harry Potter conscripted by institutions and the media to give our culture and universities that cache of respectability? But the bubble is about to burst as students demand more for the money they pay and shop around for better deals. League table are fluid: Aston Villa are premier league one day and then Championship the next. Likewise with British universities.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Dodgy? Reply with quote

[quote="slapntickle"]
grahamb wrote:
For example, how often is Shakespeare


These fads come and go. In another 400 years, no one will have heard of him.
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1945

PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:34 pm    Post subject: Shakespeare Reply with quote

Hod wrote:
In another 400 years, no one will have heard of him.


He's rather well known four centuries after his death. I suspect his fame will linger somewhat longer.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 264

PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 5:12 am    Post subject: Re: Shakespeare Reply with quote

grahamb wrote:
Hod wrote:
In another 400 years, no one will have heard of him.


He's rather well known four centuries after his death. I suspect his fame will linger somewhat longer.


That may well be the case, but the immortal scribblings of Prof SlapnTickle on the demise of British education will never die . . .
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1945

PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:12 am    Post subject: Immortal Reply with quote

slapntickle wrote:
the immortal scribblings of Prof SlapnTickle on the demise of British education will never die . . .


I fear that the modern culture of "reality" TV, the cult of the celebrity, online bingo and virtual social networking will see the Prof's wisdom fade into obscurity. 1984 has arrived.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Dodgy? Reply with quote

Hod wrote:
These fads come and go. In another 400 years, no one will have heard of him.

grahamb, try brevity with your own adjective-heavy posts. The fads thing was sarcasm. Someone like you should know that lowest form of wit quote.
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1945

PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:47 pm    Post subject: Short measures Reply with quote

Hod wrote:
grahamb, try brevity with your own adjective-heavy posts.


Who's Brevity?
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The soul of wit.

Thought you'd know that being an old Polonius yourself.
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grahamb



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 1945

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 4:25 pm    Post subject: Brief encounter Reply with quote

Hod wrote:
Thought you'd know that being an old Polonius yourself.


I've never been near the place. Wink
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Dedicated



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 972
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To get back on topic -

It is not surprising that many degree courses do not add value to graduates' earning power but no degree promises a high-powered job and middle class lifestyle as slapntickle claims.

The real (unstated) purpose of the great expansion of further education was not to increase our citizens' wealth or utility but to remove three years' worth of hard-to-employ youths from the unemployment statistics. Unemployment was 15% in 1983 but dropped to 9% by 1989. In this it succeeded and youth unemployment ceased to be the monthly drama it used to be in the 1980s.

The question now is : of the high salaries accruing to graduates of Oxbridge, Imperial, UCL, LSE et al, how much is attributable to the degree course and how much to the individual? Perhaps these high earners would still have been high earners even if they had NOT gone to university. What is needed is a controlled test in which a carefully selected representative sample including probable high achievers is put directly into useful work when they leave school. Then we could begin to establish whether the degree course added value and how much.
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