Given the state of my anxiety, concern and disbelief about the state of our higher education system in general and of our universities in particular, I have been doing my bit by writing a few articles, blogs, books, you name it, here and there, to highlight the consequences of a market-based, profit oriented, student (I am sorry, I meant Customer-led) education in this country and elsewhere (see a short sample below):
Today this excellent story (see below) caught my eyes. I couldn’t have done it better myself! So true those words are and how so comic our education values have become.
Enjoy reading it and pity those who pay 1000s and 1000s of Pounds for this sort of the so-called education.
Buy-one-get-one-free degrees: when higher education meets discount pricing
‘In a bid to attract students, universities are promising cheap master’s courses to undergraduates, money-off deals, family and friends offers – and even Premier League football tickets’
Buy on Get one Free!!
‘Everyone loves a bargain and we are now being inundated with ‘amazing’ special offers for a ‘limited time’ only. It might be that you have already succumbed to a few ‘3 for 2’ and ‘BOGOF’ offers. But are they really as good as they sound? Think before you buy. Do you really need to buy the bumper box of biscuits or the three toiletry sets for the price of two? Only buy food and drink you really need, otherwise it will just end up in the bin. And only buy gifts that your recipients will actually enjoy.’
Captions by Gareth Robinson. Photo: telegraph.co.uk
Name: Bogof degrees.
Age: Brand new.
Appearance: Incredible value for money.
Hello, I’m thinking about going to university. Stop right there, my fine fellow. Have I got a guaranteed, once-in-a-lifetime, money-saving, wallet-caving, brain-straining bargain for you!
You sound suspicious. On the contrary, good sir. I am a representative of one of Britain’s finest seats of learning, and today I’m offering you a deal so insane that you’ll ignore my insensitive reference to mental illness: a bogof degree!
A what? A bogof degree! Enrol for an undergraduate course with me today and I’ll give you a free – YES, FREE! – master’s course worth an incredible £10,000! All you need to do is sign on the dotted line.
Are you for real? Yes! We need to keep up with the market. Sheffield is giving top students the chance of a free master’s course worth up to £10,000, Kingston is offering 25% off a master’s and Kent will give you £1,000 off and 10% off the tuition fees of any spouses or siblings who also want to do a degree.
This is depressing. God, I know. Don’t tell anyone, but we’re being pummelled. There are fewer 18-year-olds around than in previous years – and Brexit will probably stop overseas students from coming here – and we’ve got spaces to fill. It’s tacky, and I’m ashamed of myself, but what can you do? Anyway, STEP RIGHT UP!
This isn’t what education is about, is it? What do you mean?
Surely it’s about expanding your horizons and gaining independence, not about materialistic freebies. Oh, I can tell you’re a hard nut to crack, sir. What if I threw in some Premier League football tickets? That’s what De Montfort is doing.
Good God, is it really? Please sir, I need this. Just say the word. You want an iPad too? We’ve got iPads as far as the eye can see! I’ll give you 10 iPads!
You’re doing nothing to dismiss the sensation that education is becoming something you can buy off the peg. Fine, I’ll give you the keys to my car and that’s my final offer.
Do say: “Education is not simply a monetary transaction.”
Don’t say: “Chuck in a set of steak knives and I’m in.”
This story was first published in the Guardian on Monday 8 August 2016
My Values-led Education
Some say that my teaching is nonsense
Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.
I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world. Lao Tzu