So what? There are no votes in this issue. Few care. Yet this is one of the fastest-growing components of the British workforce. More than 11% of thirtysomethings hold some form of postgraduate degree, increasingly imperative if you want to build a career in anything from the media through medicine to hi-tech business. There is proper and enormous focus on widening access to university for disadvantaged minorities for first degrees, but first degrees are no longer the passport to economic and social mobility that they used to be. The knowledge intensity and cognitive demands of a growing number of jobs today require intense intellectual training and the growth of postgraduate degrees reflects that reality.
Certainly possible to look at it all as credentialism. Now that 50% go to uni for a first degree, we need some other method of sorting the wheat from the chaff. Thus the rush to postgraduate degrees as in the US.
To which the obvious solution is to cut back first degrees to 10-15% of the population and we\’re done.
The rest of it is how much more government money should be spent on this vital university sector.
Will Hutton is principal of Hertford College, Oxford
Fancy that, Willy Hutton is calling for subsidy for Willy Hutton. I am shocked.