A recent review from Lord Browne confirmed his opinion that tuition fees should not be capped. This will inevitably have a major impact on the number of students applying for University. Also, due to the possible differences in tuition fee costs for top universities, it could dictate from which social background the student may arise.
If the hung parliament reflected anything it was the want for change in the system across the board. However, as much as we are ready for change, in true British style, we are very much ready to complain about it. This new attempt to reform the tuition fee system has already caused much debate throughout the country and will continue to do so in the near future.
The need for a degree was already in question in recent years and will be thrown even more into the spotlight under these new circumstances of increased debt. It may almost get to the point of any increase in wages through a degree being offset by the huge amount of debt, albeit that it will now be paid back after earning £21,000.
The result could be a drastic reduction in student numbers, despite the paradoxical increase recently, or perhaps even resulting in entire Universities closing. If this is the case it would put even more onus on pre-degree teaching and its subjects. At the moment most of the subjects at GCSE level lay the groundwork for further and higher education. Science, Maths and English still hold the fort as the core subjects in schools.
This will have to be completely reconsidered if students are, by this reform, forcibly thrown out into the working world without a job –specific subject. Even at A level the courses are still very much starting points and an individual’s core subjects at this level can vary from Humanities to Science, a clear indication that the pupil is still not fully sure of the career they wish to follow.
One of either two things is required to happen. Firstly, the student could be earmarked for a job-specific set of subjects that are clearly related and harmonic to each other, this being set in motion at an early age. It could be argued that a child is too young to make these decisions and if they did, could make the wrong ones. However, at least leaving school with an interdependent set of subjects would be more useful than a lack of direction.
The second option is to completely reform the core GCSE subjects and base them around the working world and life itself. More emphasis on Economics, Politics and Money. A more world-ready student would be created who understands who to vote for and why and someone who can manage their money well. After all, the whole idea behind the upcoming benefit reforms is that working is not, despite some people’s opinion, optional.
If governments are willing to make reforms at top level that may change an already jaded opinion of the need for a degree, they have to accept the fact that pupils may be starting life in the real world much earlier and need the life skills instilled at a younger age.