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"arts degrees are not worth the paper they're written on"


Spoonie
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i'm doing a debate on friday on the above topic and i'm looking for stuff to put into my speech with very little success anyone got any ideas? facts and figures about employment rates of arts students seem hard to find. anyone come across anything on this topic before?

spoons

/x

Are you putting the case for or against the title?

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Here's something to mention. At the University of East Anglia a couple of years ago the government offered them a large amount of money if they lowered their entrance requirements drastically.

So all that matters is people are off the dole queues and in higher education even though they are gonna largely come out to work in call centres. The government boasts about how many people are at Uni now but it's actually because they've made it easier to get in, like the Tories did with O Levels, they scrapped them in favour of the GCSE (General Collapse of Secondary Education as Grange Hill called it) rather than improving academic results, an exam you couldn't fail and therefore a meaningless qualification.

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Guest tv tanned

I guess it depends on the parameters you set in your definition.

In some universities Psychology is considered to be an arts degree, and to argue that it has no practical use would be difficult.

What you perhaps need to do is demonstrate that standards are being lowered.

Look perhaps at the high uptake of courses such as media studies over traditional courses like chemistry :

1996/7: 22,679 chemistry students; 6,888 media studies students

2002/3: 19,015 chemistry; 22,600 media studies

Question whether this is a trend which should be allowed to continue, and whether we are developing a broad enough skills base amongst our graduates.

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i think this is the case with most degrees and courses that are not really traditional in the way that law or medicine is. which i think is the case with most professions that are largely based on freelance working. it just comes down to your ability and ultimatively what you do with it. of course, if i was to write an essay about it, i'd expand largely on the comparison between old and modern professions, maybe get facts back up with figures such as employment-ability and so on.

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Surely though the argument depends on what the students aim of studying the course is. Someone may go into an Art Degree course purely looking to develop their art knowledge and skill. To them it may not matter how it would help them get a job and it then it would not be worth judging the degree's success by this means.

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that's the concept of debate, and that is probably where the argument would come in.

Should universities exist for the purpose of providing practical, useful education and training, or should they be about expansion of knowledge base?

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Guest pop-notmyface

I certainly think that anyone who doesn't complete their degree by failing or simply dropping out should pay the full cost for the time they have consumed (except with exceptional cases).

i agree with you. it might not be much of a burden to the taxpayer...but in the sums it all adds up.

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I certainly think that anyone who doesn't complete their degree by failing or simply dropping out should pay the full cost for the time they have consumed (except with exceptional cases).

lost count of how many people i know or have met in town and been lik, oh yeah so what you doing now - oh first year again, changed courses.... 7 years after we started at the same time.

pay it back. dammit.

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In regards to psychology... a degree standing on it's own cannot actually be used as the individual isn't a qualified psychologist. In order to actually apply this qualification you have to complete the Phd..

Nope, you only need to complete the degree to register with the professional body - Aberdeen for example offers both the MA or BSc, and either of them is good enough to get registered. No need to go on further than that if you simply want to become a psychologist.

Question : are degrees really funded by the taxpayer? Universities get around 4000 per student from the goverment, so let's say a four year MA equals 16,000 from the taxpayer. Surely they would be paying 16,000 more in taxes as a result of having a degree anyway?

As for not being talented/dedicated enough : what if you sail through 1st and 2nd year, only to struggle with 3rd year? Should you be punished because you can no longer cope with the work?

edit : meant to say that i had a college lecturer in psychology who made a lot of money working part time as a private psychologist - she only had the bog standard 4 year degree, yet had established herself as being ridiculously good in her field. Her attitude to us was that there was no point going onto postgraduate study unless you wanted to specialise in something, as you got the important professional recognition after 4 years anyway.

Mind you, I can't stand people that say psychology is a science when it bloody well isn't :p

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so my fiancee should pay back all the cash it cost for her to pass two and a half years of an anatomy degree before failing her third year exams?

she already had to pay fees for three years of her forensics course because that is the rules when you do a new undergrad degree having already done one.

You can only re-do first year so many times before you have to pay in any case.

People are always so quick to make knee jerk statements without first examining the reality of the situation.

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I certainly think that anyone who doesn't complete their degree by failing or simply dropping out should pay the full cost for the time they have consumed (except with exceptional cases).

Rubbish, using that logic, anyone who fails exams or leaves secondary school early should have to pay the costs of their (failed) eductaion. And I'm sure you wouldn't agree with the prospect of thousands of 16(ish) year olds forking out a lot of money (granted, it may be their parents' money).

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Guest tv tanned
In regards to tv tanned: I did say there are exceptional cases that should be made... if failing it was her own fault... or simply down to her now having the ability then she should pay for her failed year certainly.

I really don't see the point you are attempting to make here.

At the end of the day, any number of factors could be prevalent in someone failing a course, and it is spurious to suggest that it may be down to simple factors.

I believe that it was linked to her having to work ridiculous shifts at the Union in order to pay her way through uni as a result of the atrocious levels of student support which are given. So it is entirely fair the government picks up any bill since it is their fault.

But suppose it was down to bad teaching, do you think that bad teachers should pay for the students who fail their courses?

Where exactly do you stop with this precedent?

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how can you judge your ability before the exams though? you might be like me, absolutely terrific at assessments, but piss poor at exams. Where do you draw the line? You might fail twice because of a dodgy examiner, when on another day you would've passed, especially in arts related subjects.

You also have the issue that they might not be able to afford to pay back the costs in the first place - what do you do then, add it onto their loan? Do that, and you'll discourage people from entering education in the first place, meaning that departments will have to close and the universities will be worse off as a result. They might then have to raise the fees, so (in this country) people would be looking at paying 3000 instead of 2000..of course, then the Executive would be paying the fees for students, so that's the taxpayer lumbered with paying an extra 1000 a year per student - and it would end up outweighing the money saved by forcing people to pay for failed courses.

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A thought.

At the end of Louise's degree she is likely to have an individual student debt of 28,000.

Sharon would add the costs of her failed year at Dundee onto that which would probably put the total over 30,000 by a significant amount.

If this is some sort of effort to scare people who you perceive to be too thick to go to uni from entering into further education, then it is woefully misguided. People with straight A's go to uni and fail for all manner of reasons.

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I absolutely agree that the student support system is fucking terrible. That's another issue... but then argument could be given that if there are less students or if sudents had to pay back money for failed courses then there would be more money in the kitty to provide better support and loan system.

When the government introduced tuition fees they cut back support for universities pound for pound.

If less students went to uni, they would cut their cloth to suit and redirect the funding elsewhere.

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5th and 6th year is the individual's choice, should they be forced to pay as mentioned previously?

As for the 'not cutting it' aspect of your argument, should this then be applied to a whole host of tax-payer/government issues?

- If someone can't play a sport well after participating in a govenment run scheme, should they pay the costs?

- If someone takes a book out of a public library, but can't finish the book, should they pay the costs involved in lending it to them? stamp ink mounts up you know.

I realise these may be somewhat farcical examples, but its pretty much applying the same theory.

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I absolutely agree that the student support system is fucking terrible. That's another issue... but then argument could be given that if there are less students or if sudents had to pay back money for failed courses then there would be more money in the kitty to provide better support and loan system.

Less students means less tax money down the line which means less student support - it's a vicious circle' date=' if you think about how things were before, the UK was a piss poor country with only a small percentage of students. Now it's a rich country with lots of students, so surely we should be trying to increase people's skills any way we can? The UK needs to keep transforming into a skilled economy, we can't possibly compete with other countries when it comes to unskilled labour.

Cloud: Surely if an individual doesn't even know their own ability and limits then they should choose a course which suits what they believe they could complete? That's why there are access courses along with numerous other systems that support the courses provided. If you don't have the ability to pass an exam... then how do you think you are going to benefir by making yourself sit them?

But you have the issue of marking on top - if a six figure sum was resting on what one marker does, would it not mean that students would demand increased transparency in the exam process? I for one wouldn't be happy to risk 4,000 on two individuals who might be having a bad day and be marking accordingly. Would you risk that kind of money on something as subjective as that?

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In regards to Paranoid Android's comment (and please don't take this personally).

My personal problem with a lot arts based courses is that I don't believe that they shouldn't be so heavily subsidised. For example... I am all for people going out and learning to better themselves but we have to question if this really should be so heavily funded by the taxpayer? Surely if someone is doing a degree for purely selfish purposes they should have to pay for the full cost (maybe not up front but certainly over a period of time) no? When the degree is not being applied eitherin business or in the public sector... I just have a huge problem with contributing towards someone selfish exploits.

How do you determine that someone is doing a degree for selfish purposes? Surely you can't just assume that students who are not studying in business or the public sector wont contribute back to society and charge them more.

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