Are we about to say goodbye?

A university: expensive, low value and bad business?

Linus Pauling - 1922Linus Pauling - 1922
There is much wrong with the UK education sector. So, is the National Union of Students an indicator of further trouble in the world of education? We are told that the NUS could be bankrupt and forced to close. So the pantomime begins, there have been 'anti-austerity' demonstrations by students and altogether it looks rather ridiculous. Recently a vote at Plymouth University showed around 52% of the students opted to leave the NUS, oddly there has been no accusation, 'they did not know what they were voting for', neither a demand for a 'student People's Vote to prevent an 'injustice'.

So what of the NUS and is it just part of a higher education problem? It was formed in 1922 from several groups with similar interests. The original purpose was to lobby for students and to give them, in modern parlance, a voice. Even in those far-off days politics was not far below the surface many students eyed the rise of radical politics in other parts of the world, pronounced this was good and so the love of communism took off in the student world. From the start this created tension within the movement. Individual universities have on occasions voted to leave the NUS on this score, only to rejoin later when another group of hopefuls took over the reins of student power within the university.

A good reason to protest?

We are awash with underperforming institutions

So much to protest about!So much to protest about!
More student demonstrations; in a previous post we wrote about some aspects of the background to this, including the ridiculous, and possibly unsustainable, increase in higher education. While it's hard to see a justification for throwing fire extinguishers off the roof of the Tory HQ the fact is the students were lied to. Other people may say "so what, so were we", and then go on to explain about the promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. It's a fact it was the same government, the coalition, who lied to both students and other voters alike. Perhaps lying is what governments and their servants do; the default state? At the last demonstrations the police were made to look foolish. They claimed they were not ready or prepared for this. Are they telling the truth?

The history of higher education?

Students, some people never learn

Learning to solve problems?Learning to solve problems?
Can you remember history lessons at school? I remember a history teacher at my all boys' school by virtue of the fact she was a woman. "Gosh!", I thought. I can't say for sure if this was an experiment in teaching method run by a modern and forward looking local authority, or if she was filling in for an absent master. I would imagine the latter. The usual history master had a thick northern accent, his birthplace and the fact he was teaching in the South of England gave him, so he thought, the right to bellow on and on about the deficiencies of the south in general and us boys in particular. This man did not have a chip on his shoulder, no, he had an entire timber yard on each shoulder. He was also a rugby fanatic. More often than not a point in history would be explained in terms of this game. He gave the impression of being brilliant at it. This I suggest was a lie as, more often than not, he would be limping, have an arm in a sling or a gash on his forehead. It's my opinion that far from being pathetic southerners, the opponents he met on the pitch were actually very good. That is they were good at kicking the crap out of him. Much as he did not learn how to keep out of trouble neither did I learn any history from him.

The EU costs us too much

Time to face the facts, gold plate not required

The elephant's in the room, again! The elephant's in the room, again!
Two articles one newspaper. First the Telegraph has this article by Philip Johnston with the title - 'Bad Laws: Labour has clowned around with our freedom', it is critical of the way we are governed. Few would disagree with what is written it's what is omitted that's the problem; for there is no mention of the EU. By contrast the second article mentions the EU but misses the point of it all. As so often pointed out on this blog about 80% of our law comes direct from the EU. It may take various forms but that's the origin. Some law is brought in to being in anticipation of EU adoption. Other law is gold plated by our public servants out of a messianic sense of duty to a superior and higher level of bureaucracy. Although stupidity will suffice as a summary!

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