Well, yes, sounds about right

Universities are presiding over a “mis-selling” scandal which is leaving some graduates with a lower earning capacity than people who eschew degrees, a major report finds today.

International economic grievance studies at Islington Polytechnic might indeed reduce your earning power.

18 comments on “Well, yes, sounds about right

  1. Reading the story, certainly there’s graduates getting a raw deal. But the benefit to society as a whole are unarguable. There’s degrees that graduates achieve that label them as people you’d never want to employ in a million years. And the fact that they seem to have been incapable of working that out for themselves further validates the decision. Who’d want someone that stupid on the payroll.

  2. What amazes me is how many people aren’t able to work this out for themselves. Maybe 18 year olds can have some excuse from naivety for choosing to study sociology at some bottom-league former poly but their parents should know better.

  3. @Mal Reynolds

    Radio 5L did a piece from Liverpool Uni yesterday.

    I am sure I heard one of the students say that the tuition fees meant she paid £50 per hour to be lectured in Sociology.

    Can this really be true, as it seems an appalling waste of money? You would have to pay me more than that to attend such a lecture.

    Or is it, perhaps, the usual social ‘scientist’ who doesn’t understand numbers?

  4. @BiS +5
    @Mal
    Let’s ignore (for a minute) the problem of useless (or worse than useless) degrees in Studies and other stuff.
    A problem is that many parents do not know that some universities are (perceived as) better than others.
    The government of the day has always insisted that all universities are comparable even though we (who have been around the block) know this is rubbish. Employers know this is rubbish. Prospective students who are going to be the first from their family to go to university do not and the government has not allowed universities to tell them otherwise.
    Prissy middle-class elites don’t tell them either because that would be to do down the sterling efforts of the Universities of West Failure and Going South who are striving to do the best for the disadvantaged kids from West Rioting and Social Exclusion by teaching them Arithmetic with Grievance Studies and Beyoncenomics.

  5. @Jack Hughes
    £50 an hour…
    Well. My wonderful colleagues in Sociology probably do only require students to attend about 6 hours a week of lectures (ignoring seminars and other small class teaching). If we said 25 teaching weeks (yes, 25) that’s 150 lectures per year. Say £9K fees-yes that figure looks about right.
    Of course in the sciences there are significantly more lectures but hey, you have to think, not emote, in those subjects.

    OTOH I would probably pay £50 not to have to attend a sociology lecture.

  6. Fund STEM courses fully and shake out the rest of the crap. The Uni’s that currently don’t have any (‘cos they too expensive to run) can disappear thus solving the problem.

    Might also shake out a large number of Vice-Chancellors who are taking the piss.

  7. Who, and when, decided that the object of education was to increase your earning power? When I went to university back in the late 70s, the idea was that you went there to stretch and expand your talents, study something intrinsically worth studying, and then perhaps do a job that was intrinsically worth doing working for an employer who actually wanted to employ graduates.

    Most of the people I knew then who made really serious money had never been near a university in their lives.

  8. The prevailing view of the establishment at the time was that your university degree wouldn’t make you expert or employable for the subject matter knowledge necessarily but it would allow you to judge whether someone else “was talking rot” and that skill was employable.

  9. @Andrew WS and Hallowed Be.
    Well quite.
    For many years now, universities have been selling themselves to government on the basis of increasing earnings/productivity and government has been driving student numbers up and up because the politicians and the civil servants believe the (dumb) stats.
    Simultaneously, standards at school have plummeted so government has pushed universities to address the failure of secondary education.
    Leftist bullshit begets leftist bullshit (which is a feature, not a bug).

  10. I am sure I heard one of the students say that the tuition fees meant she paid £50 per hour to be lectured in Sociology

    Lol. Just join Twitter and she can get it for free.

  11. Maybe 18 year olds can have some excuse from naivety for choosing to study sociology at some bottom-league former poly but their parents should know better.

    Have you seen the state of some of these parents? Employed by the government, think their child is a snowflake, think Blair was “amazing”.

  12. Jack Hughes said:
    “£50 per hour to be lectured in Sociology”

    That’s in the right ballpark.

    These days you could be getting as little as 20 or 22 weeks teaching per year. Can be as little as 9 hours teaching (lectures & seminars combined), probably 12 hours tops for a social science course.

    Take the bottom end of each of those, and £9,000 a year fees is £50 for an hour’s lecture.

    In fact it’s a bit lower, because the fees also include the exams (setting, marking, faffing around with special circumstances, awarding a degree). Say £2,000 of the fees each year are for that, but that’s still around £40 per lecture.

    Could be as low as £25 if we subtract £2,500 for exams and take the upper end of those estimates of teaching hours.

    But yes, however you do it it’s ridiculously high. It’s because universities are stuffed full of over-paid middle-managers.

    The answer is to de-regulate and allow private for-profit universities to award degrees. Yes, we might get some taking the piss and offering mickey-mouse courses, but don’t we have that already?

  13. In the 1980s I did Computing Science and Japanese Language and running the numbers through my head there was about 25 hours a week of contact time, but that doesn’t include the time spent outside lectures and teaching doing things like actually researching, writing and documenting code, reading, writing and listening to language assignments.

  14. I think it high time universities were compelled to spell out the likely benefits of the courses on offer to the students being offered them. Of course there doesn’t have to be a financial benefit at all, but this needs to be clear in the prospectus.
    Loans can then be granted on the basis of the prospectus and the universities should be liable if they mislead.
    Of course we might find a fall off in interest in non remunerative disciplines, but that we can live with.

  15. jgh said:
    “… about 25 hours a week of contact time, but that doesn’t include the time spent outside lectures and teaching doing things like actually researching”

    True, some of the £9,000 a year is also for the use of the library etc., but not very much (the very grand London Library only costs £510 per year to join).

  16. “The Uni’s that currently don’t have any (‘cos they too expensive to run)” rather misses the point. Over the years the main reason for closing STEM departments has been that not enough youngsters want to read for degrees in those subjects.

  17. @dearieme
    I don’t think it’s a case of ‘not wanting’, but not having passed the relevant A-levels. You can get into most non-STEM degree courses with any A-levels you like, as long as you reach the relevant grades. But to start a physics degree necessitates double-maths and physics A-levels, and the numbers completing these courses are dropping. The students (and teachers) aren’t up to it, and the schools discourage pupils from starting, because high grades are harder to get.

    Stem A-levels have been dumbed down, but not anything like as much as in non-STEM subjects.

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