My Big Rant

18 Mar

Last year I went to the National Citizen Service pilot scheme conference day. People from youth organisations had travelled from all over to hear about what the new government had planned for young people over the next few years. We were told about a new era; where young people would ask ‘where did you do your NCS?’, rather than ‘where did you do your degree?’ and all would volunteer, contributing to Cameron’s big idea – the Big Society.

Turns out young people can be organised, contribute to society, work together (all for no money!), just not as the ConDems envisaged.

Student protests dominated the news for weeks. They were protesting over increasing tuition fees – which have risen to (in some cases) to £9000 a year. When I went to uni I paid about a grand a year. My generation are already struggling over student loans – I have no idea how people will afford degrees now.

Cameron’s proposal to give the accolades and pomp usually associated with university to those undertaking NCS (e.g. a ‘graduation’ ceremony at the end, an alumni) are nonsense. This will not replace having a degree and worse, you still need to have money to take part.


3 Responses to “My Big Rant”

  1. Anthony March 18, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    I think young people are poorly informed at school level and Universities sell a false future in certain degrees, of course a small number will be successful but for many the only employment they can secure after graduation is minimum wage work they could have done without a degree. Is it right for university’s to sell dead end degrees?

    This time last year I read many comments about over saturation of graduates in fields that really can not support such demand (arts/humanities.) Yet the engineering/science field are crying out for new blood University has become so obligatory young people just do it and study a ‘fun’ subject because its the done thing resulting in high drop out rates, less than enthusiastic attendees and queues outside the job center.

    The fees are outrageous but maybe people will consider if the degree choice really is worth taking or the return it will give. Do you pay £27,000 to study a ‘hobby’ subject or apply yourself to a high earning degree where the fees (although still a phenomenal noose) will actually be a sum you could afford when you are in a high earning profession.

    • Shiny Shoe Claire March 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

      I totally take your point. But surely reducing the number of places in the arts/humanities (if they are over subscribed) would have the same effect? I just have trouble with the government favouring people who have the luxury of being able to do things for free/not having to worry about money.

      • Anthony March 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

        If my art history at University taught me anything, the most successful practitioners worked on a master- apprentice system and also as a (profitable) artist guild. I’m sure for under £9000 many organisations could offer a more business focused art school I’d like to see undergraduates actually given live commissions and work not just sit in the degree show, but actually reach the everyman on the street though advertising, fashion, design, media, community projects, Government initiatives ect. Undergraduates would actually learn the potential of cooperate art, make contacts in the work environment and overall see their work and effort changing our visual landscape. An art ‘degree’ is dead space, the portfolio speaks for itself to potential employers and artists are carved by life experience, not by lecturers. I am very much for a visual culture learned society but lets take these inspiring young peoples ideas, implement them and ensure they are paid.

        Some may say this is selling out some kind of artist integrity, but then name an artist in history that didn’t have to produce art for commissions to pay the rent and invest in their own work. An artist is a business man first and foremost and you need to play to the industry, the freedom to explore your own ideas comes later as it does in most careers.

        Art education for all, lets just equip artists with the skills to survive.

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