More Education Means Greater Economic Gains
Byline: Bill Gleeson
A COLLEAGUE asked me yesterday whether I enjoyed studying English at university. "Thoroughly," was my answer.
Studying English doesn't just mean dabbling in great works of literature. It also develops critical thought techniques that can be applied to a wide range of other issues, including the world of work and life generally.
But my university days were fun: arguably too much fun. It didn't really prepare me for the tedium of my first job, as an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand. My fellow graduate trainee auditors and I spent what felt like months going through the ledgers and cash books of some of the world's biggest quoted companies. With the exception of Robert Maxwell's companies, there was never a single penny out of place. I couldn't cope with the tedium, so I quit and became a journalist instead. In monetary terms, it was a very costly move, but at least I kept my sanity.
Of course, back in the 1980s, I didn't have to contribute to the cost of university education. I sometimes wonder whether the need to pay back tuition fees would have changed my decisions about what course to study and my attitude to what was a well-paid career.
Lord Browne's review of university tuition fees, published yesterday, strikes me as ideology posing as pragmatism.
Alongside his assertion that British universities need more funding if they are to maintain their position as the best in the world, it is also important that all talented people living in this country should not be daunted by financial hurdles. That must surely be the consequence of the significant increase costs faced by students, who will leave education with big debts.
The individual student is not the only beneficiary of a good education. …