Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Tuesday 13 October 2009

Tuition Fees

Tuition Fees.

It was never going to work! The Labour Government under Tony Blair, set a target of 50% of students going on to higher education by 2010. One wouldn't mind them setting such a laudable target if it wasn't for the real and underlying aim; namely taking numbers off the unemployment statistics.

It is unbelievable that they thought the taxpayers wouldn't notice their deception and it is a measure of their arrogance that they simply shrug off any criticism as the rantings of the loony right.

Now, of course, higher education isn't suitable for every child. Some youngsters would prefer to learn a trade and when I was leaving secondary school, it was still possible to become an apprentice and do day release at a technical college.
I believe that apprenticeships are making a comeback as Companies recognise the advantages of training their employeees from a young age. The Government, or should I say the Tax Payers, already pay the cost of the tuition fees but they could go further, particularly if Government makes it more attractive for companies to take on school leavers with tax incentives; possibly through lower national insurance contributions.

The cost of tuition fees is a daunting prospect for many school leavers wanting to go to University. Now, many colleges are warning that costs are set to spiral upwards, leaving many graduates facing years of heavy debt. All this at a time when the United Kingdom badly needs a generation able and equipped to drive a new economy which is not only lacking in manufacturing, but will also need to sustain an ever older population. The old reliance on 'Invisible earnings' to balance the Country's books may not be possible in the future with the shake up of the financial services industry.

What to do? For some years the traditional subjects, especially the sciences, have been neglected in favour of new and fashionable subjects such as Media Studies. Apparently one can now study for a degree in 'Star Trek'. However, to my mind, it is the old science subjects of engineering, physics and chemistry that we need to encourage for the future prosperity of the Country. Yes they are harder; you can't tell me that a 2.1 in media studies is the same as a 2.1 in physics, for instance, but youngsters must be encouraged to look again at the sciences. Why not pay the fees, or a large portion of them, for students of approved subjects? There will, of course, have to be controls; graduates will have to work in the relevant industry, say for six years after graduation, as part of the arrangement. It's only a suggestion, but I believe it might work.

Kevill Davies is author of 'Apsaras'. Available at most on line book shops.
Read more on his Indaloblog at

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