It’s funny, yet sad, to watch the higher education system of the UK degenerate into the same abyss much of the US’ higher education has become.
First, I point out that I’m extrapolating a bit:
Around 85% of respondents in the Times Higher Education survey were from 130 UK institutions, though staff from regions including the US, Canada, Australia, Europe and Asia also took part.
I really wish they’d narrowed down the respondents better…but with the bulk of the respondents in the UK, it’s reasonable enough to guess these results are most applicable to the UK.
Now, I promise the gentle reader that the complaints we’re hearing in the UK have their mirror here. The big difference, however, is we have something called “community colleges,” largely fraudulent enterprises that primarily exist to suck weak students in, swirl them around for 3 to 5 years until every dollar has been squeezed out, and then discarded. Here’s a quick summary of the immense fraud of community colleges, and I encourage the more recent arrivals to my blog to peruse the documented facts there, the better to have no doubts about the true nature of most community colleges. Bottom line, however, is these fake schools supposedly have 2 year degree programs, but it’s quite common for less than 1% of 2-year degree program students to actually graduate in 2 years.
In the US, we put our semi-students, our “almost illiterates” as they say in the UK, into the community college system. The UK doesn’t really have this system, so if it’s going to match the fraud, it has to put these semi-students into their university system. The survey respondents let us know how it’s working out:
“Each year, the entry requirements for undergraduate programmes are reduced, meaning we get a high number of students who are almost illiterate,” one professor complained.
It used to be, a school could only be accredited if it actually had entrance requirements. Those requirements were annihilated in the US, and now ‘open admission’ is pretty standard now. I’m not a jerk, I believe education should be available to everyone, but slamming unqualified kids into tens of thousands of dollars of debt when they have no chance of getting anything for that debt strikes me as evil. Administrators disagree with me, of course, considering this activity simply a “vision for excellence.”
Because of open admission, I used to teach students at the community college how the number line works (i.e., 2nd to 3rd grade material), used to regularly snip off chapter after chapter of material in a hopeless attempt to present a course even the least interested student could pass. Faculty in the UK see this is what will have to happen if they continue to lower standards:
A creative arts professor said: “When 45% of of school-leavers go to university, standards must be different from what they were when 7% did…
Now, in the US, those “different” standards led to the creation of immense remediation programs. Again, I’ve covered the remediation scam in great detail, with the key point being we’re spending huge resources on “teaching” 6th grade material, calling it college, and pretending not to notice that 90% of remedial students get nothing out of college but debt.
The UK, of course, wouldn’t dream of considering what’s happening in the US and taking it as a warning what not to do:
However, lecturers said institutions were failing to provide additional resources to teach these less academically-able students
With this level of thinking, it’s just a matter of time until remedial programs are standard in the UK as well…perhaps they’ll even copy our criminal community college system, too.
It’s a shame nobody over there is willing to connect the dots. We’ve already tried the “provide additional resources” idea, and it’s led to a huge boondoggle in higher ed. I wish there were a way I could warn them, since they’re not willing to read the writing on the wall about how effective those “additional resources” will be:
More than half (52%) said students turned up to class without doing the required reading…“Few students will read the material on the reading list, [relying] instead solely on lecture handouts or PowerPoint slides,” one law lecturer said.
Why can’t they figure out that students who don’t read or study aren’t going to learn anything no matter how much you reduce standards or water down the material?
Again, we saw this in the American higher education system years ago. It’s why we have so much coursework that doesn’t rely on students actually having read anything, why we have whole degree programs based on students watching Powerpoint presentations. Similarly students don’t have to write much, either, and whole programs have students simply talking about how they feel about things, learning nothing that they don’t already “know”…it’s nuts.
It really is laughable how little goes into so many college courses. Many courses the professor just reads the canned PowerPoint presentation, a collection of slides with tiny snippets of information on them. I’ve reviewed college courses where the entire amount of text students need to read is less than two of my blog posts—you can master all the information in two hours tops, though the information is spread out over the course of four months. I imagine I could make a great deal of money if I moved to the UK and “trained” the faculty there of the reality of open admission teaching…
In the meantime, I guess I’ll sit back and watch the UK make the same mistakes the US did regarding higher education.