Friday, 17 July 2015

Gallagher Desert Island LG Degrees


Noel Gallagher's Desert Island Discs - that'll be an interesting listen, although Noel strikes me as the more sensible on of the two. However, sensible is a purely relative terms when talking about the Gallaghers. It's like comparing a psychopath with someone with verbal Tourette's.

Hay's dad has an LG TV, the remote control for which has never worked properly. LG sent him a new one ages ago when he first reported it, but that didn't work either. I inspected his TV for all manner of serial numbers and sent off for a third remote, but yet again it didn't work. His girlfriend, Barbara, brought round her remote for a different model of LG TV, and hey presto, it worked. So I bought him that remote, which also works perfectly. Something must be terribly amiss in LG.

Came in for some stick from one of my readers last weekend about my post in support of withdrawing the student grant. 

My position is that we have far too many "students" doing half baked degrees as an alternative to getting a job, and I blame Blair's target of 50% in higher education for that. It turned higher education into a business funded by the taxpayer, which as unsustainable, and generated a proliferation of Mickey Mouse degrees to get bums on seats. Even students are saying they're not getting value for money from higher education - it was recently in the news.

Taxpayer-funded degrees should not be an alternative to work and should be reserved for those needing a degree in order to obtain the position they want, which in my book says the student should invest in order to achieve that degree. If you simply want to learn, nothing is stopping you from learning yourself. Being an autodidact is one of the highest achievements.

The student loan has not been withdrawn, and nothing is paid back from it until the student earns more than £17k, and even then at an interest rate of just 1.5% and on a sliding scale. That's open to every student in the land. At 18 a teenager is an adult and should be treated as such, making their own way in life and learning to stand on their own two feet, not neotonised by an over-protective society (or parents).

My son will have to obtain a student loan, which will make him think long and hard about whether he in fact needs a degree in order to get the job he wants. It would possibly make him more marketable, but many have entered the profession he has chosen (and I use that word profession in its loosest sense, as it's the financial industry) with no degree and just good A levels. If he chooses university then he will have to subsidise his university education with paid work during evenings and/or weekends. It will be good for him.

I made some very bad investment decisions along my timeline - my company pensions were a disaster (a few blew up in my face) and buying a boat to live on was idiotic at a time when house prices were going exponential. A couple of divorces didn't help either. My pensions are worth diddley squat and I'd have been better keeping the money in a suitcase. I also have a small mortgage on the new build, and I'm paying 50% more than I need to so that it's all paid off by the time I retire (not that I think I'll ever be able to afford to retire in the traditional sense). I simply won't be able to subsidise my son's university education. He will be on exactly the same footing as the poorest student in the land - and what's wrong with that?

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that university students invest in their own education - just as I don't think children are entitled to an inheritance. Should the electorate wish to revert back to the old system of free university education, then the numbers going on to higher education would have to be reduced dramatically. 50% (which was a totally arbitrary figure anyway) cannot be funded by the state without large tax increases, and the tax burden has soared inexorably in the last few decades.

If the media are to be believed, then many potential university students are already considering going straight into the job market after A levels rather than spending two or three years doing a degree that statistics say will probably be irrelevant to the job they will eventually get anyway. That's not to decry a degree, however.

Analyse and discuss and shoot me down in flames if you think otherwise.


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