Tuesday, November 25, 2003


From time to time at work I'm called upon to do interviews. And for that reason, I'm entirely unhappy with certain aspects of government policy.

I'm ashamed that a government from a generation of people who benefited from free university education, including a maintenance grant are simultaneously kicking away the ladder that allowed those, like myself, from poorer backgrounds, to get an advantage in life that my parents never had, while diluting the worth of a degree. On the former, I know I'd have been very reluctant to take on the size of debt that a modern student when not in a position of knowing what I'd be doing afterwards that could hope to clear the balance. On the latter, if your aim is to get 50% of the year cohort through higher education, and allowing for the bright entrepreneurial sparks who go and make money instead, that means you're going to be - by definition - opening the doors to people with 2-figure IQs.

To cope with that courses - certainly in the computing arena - seem to be caught by the need not to fail too many of the marginal cases. This leaves us with new graduates - even those with new-minted M.Sc.s by examination on a one year course [sub grumble - my M.Sc. was a cashing in of a Ph.D. thesis that got credited for two years worth of work, since my 2nd year was spent going around in circles beating on an apparently intractable paradox. That's a real degree.] - who really don't have much of a clue.

Oh for the days of 15-20% intake where the students could be stretched, without worrying about how to pay for a second-rate qualification.

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