Mike Vickers' Blog

June 25, 2011

Value of Higher Education

Filed under: World Class — derryvickers @ 9:33 am

I recently added the following comment to the Virtual Coffee Shop within the Leaders and Thinkers Group on LinkedIn – a great group by the way.  I welcome readers comments also.

You may not know that government in Scotland is devolved in a number of respects from that of the UK government as a whole but England isn’t; this makes life interesting in the UK and Scotland in particular.  In the recent elections to the Scottish Parliament the SNP won a hansom majority over all the other parties.  SNP stands for Scottish National Party, and their ultimate goal is to break away from England. 

One consequence is that the Scottish Parliament can decide on spending on education and in particular Higher Education ie Universities.  In Scotland fees for students at Universities are met by the government whilst the UK Parliament has decided that the English Universities may charge students up to £9,000 per annum. Not surprisingly most English Universities are putting their fees up to the maximum.

So back to Scotland; to maintain the quality of Scottish University education to that of the English Universities, the Scottish government is having to face funding their universities to the tune of £9,000 per student per year – and this they are committed to do.  And of course the cost of meeting this commitment reflects on the tax payers in Scotland or if taxes are not to rise at the cost of provision of other services.  It is well to note that Scotland prides itself on the quality of its education.  However notwithstanding this pride the public (or as colloquially known as ‘Joe Publics’) is starting to question the value of higher education in particular.  And also unsurprisingly higher education tends to favour the middle classes.

So I would welcome the Group’s thoughts on what they believe is the advantage of higher education – excepting as a passport to the better jobs.  Incidentally I understand from one of the articles in the Edinburgh newspaper, The Scotsman, which is recently debating how higher education should paid for, that the students attending universities has raised from 3% after WWII to close on 50% now.

Personally I believe that education per se is good but are there other ways of achieving it?

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