Last month the SNP reported that university admissions in 2012 were up in Scotland and down in England.
The reason is obvious: the decline in admissions in England started when the British government’s racist tuition fees were tripled.
I don’t have a problem with less people going to university – in fact, I positively welcome it. The policy of the last Labour government to have 50% of school leavers in England going to university was absolutely mental and if it was ever achieved, would have made degrees utterly worthless. Only the academically gifted should go to university. A degree is a sign of superior academic prowess, it shouldn’t be as commonplace as a NVQ or an A-Level. If 50% of people had a degree what would you have to do to set yourself apart from the other half of the job seeking population that had the same level of qualification as you? The A-Level would be the new GCSE, the bachelors degree the new A-Level and the masters degree would be the new bachelors. School leavers wouldn’t be leaving education and becoming productive members of society until they were at least 26 or 26 and £60k in debt.
That said, the tuition fees system is clearly damaging higher education in England and forcing gifted and talented youngsters to abandon their studies prematurely. A return not just to nationwide academic selection but proper implementation of the abortive tripartite system started in the 1940’s and a return of free university tuition is the best possible education system we can give English youngsters. We can pay for this by not subsidising free university education in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for them and anyone else from the EU who decides to study there.