Sam Booth: Cutting Costs

Impact‘s online columnist Sam Booth muses on government plans to cut costs…

The government of our fair nation has recently announced an annual funding reduction of £398 million for British Universities. This, of course, appears to be a reasoned and logical decision considering their own promise to get 50% of the debt laden, downtrodden, and dispirited youth of this country into higher education by 2010.

One can only assume that universities will have to make one of the following decisions: cuts to courses, or a rise in fees.

What will go first? Doubtless the ever popular vocational courses offered by many universities, from hairdressing to cuticle care, will remain untouched. Silent cuts will therefore be offloaded onto the declining subjects, such as History and English.

Not a great option. Ok, let’s raise the fees! Great idea! Let’s price the vast majority of qualified young people out of the higher education system and bring back the elite, cigar smelling, whisky swilling, bygone decades of the early twentieth century. That really worked.

No matter though. As long as we are still turning out hundreds of thousands of graduates each year, regardless of the quality or subject of their degree, the British nation will be safe from the rigours of the modern globalised economy. Heaven knows, we are experts on debt. Which, when you think about it, will be handy for running a near bankrupt government.

So let’s raise a glass and toast another inspired policy from the closed doors of Westminster. Nothing like skirting the issue, while making current ones worse, for really boosting morale!

5 Comments on this post.
  • student spectator
    16 January 2010 at 16:03
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    There’s an argument for charging more for courses which are likely to prove a sound investment (although even Oxbridge graduates aren’t certain of a return in this economic climate).

    We need the government to acknowledge that all degrees are not equal. Having a BA in Finger Painting doesn’t entitle anyone to a graduate job.

  • evelyn perry
    16 January 2010 at 19:42
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    Several things strike me. First the tone of this article seems compleely innapropriate for journalism, this is more an unreasoned spleen vent at those things which the columnist finds distasteful.

    The principal issue is 50%. This number is outlandish, and completely improperly motivated. A university education is by its very nature a badge of intellectual elitism. If 50% of people have a degree then that degree becomes comparatively worthless. The whole idea is radically unsound and over-egalitarian.

    These spending cuts are outrageous. They affect every facet of the academic experience including the academia of them. Turning over the determination of degree content to businesses and employers is a sacrilege against the very idea of university. You study (or should) for love of your subject NOT for a job at the other end. Perhaps if the government reduced substantially the numbers attending university to say 15-20%, we might regain institutions where academically minded persons studied rigorous and non-vocational degrees to better their intellects not to pander to the corporate entities many are so slavishly fixed on joining.

    An ill-considered sarcasm has coloured an article on which the student already has the high ground. This was a waste of an opportunity for intellectual journalism.

  • Angus
    16 January 2010 at 21:53
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    The article is prefaced with the following sentence – ‘Impact’s online columnist…’. It is also in the ‘features’ section and not the ‘news’ section. As a student magazine, I think the writer is perfectly entitled to take a sarcastic tone. He has at least managed to highlight the issue in a humorous way, which, considering the target readership, was probably the correct way to go about it.

  • Good point
    17 January 2010 at 10:11
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    Angus is right here. This is clearly more of an opinion piece than a news piece. The fact that the title says the author will be musing instead of reporting should suggest that the article will be one person’s take on recent goings on – which is what you’d expect from a columnist.

    Perhaps Impact could create a ‘comment’ or ‘opinion’ tab for such articles as I feel they deserve to have their own place on the website

  • Libby Galvin
    17 January 2010 at 15:34
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    Thanks Good Point – we’re looking into having a much needed re-jig of the website, and are intending to add a comment tab amongst other things. Hopefully this will lessen confusion.

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