It suddenly struck me the other day that this economic crisis will be interesting to watch from a higher education perspective.
Already lecturer friends of mine have been complaining, or even resigning because of the 'dumbing down' of the current university courses. A professor friend said to me just last summer, and I quote 'You have no idea how well educated you are compared to today's kids - you'd get a PhD instead of an MA at your level these days'. When I asked why the courses were being made easier, he told me they had to be seen to be giving out a reasonable number of good degrees to attract funding and to attract foreign students who were bringing a lot of money into the universities. Often though, the foreigners were too poor at English to obtain the degree they came for so pressure was being put on the university 'not to put off the foreigners'.
Now, look at it in this economic crisis. I presume student loans are harder to come by because of the credit crunch. I also assume unemployed struggling parents will be finding it hard to lay out thousands of pounds to allow junior to go to uni. Foreigners however will be rubbing their hands together because the UK currency has become a joke. Foreigners will flood into the universities taking up the cheap places our kids can't afford, the degrees will need to suit their needs and once they are educated - let me guess - will they stay here or will they go back home where they can earn twice as much? Hmmm - hard question!
Well done Gordon - looks like you wrecked the higher education system in the UK too.