EDUCATION, as Tony Blair Has Told Us, Are the Three Most Important Words in the English Language

Sunday Business (London, England), August 18, 2002 | Go to article overview

EDUCATION, as Tony Blair Has Told Us, Are the Three Most Important Words in the English Language


EDUCATION, as Tony Blair has told us, are the three most important words in the English language. He has added 500,000 higher education places so that Britain now has more than 2m students and he has lowered the entry standards to create no-fail exams: no wonder universities no longer worry whether applicants have A-levels they know they are worthless.

And in his endeavour to ensure that 50% of people aged between 18 and 30 get letters after their names, the prime minister has achieved the impossible: he has produced a supply of education that is greater than the demand.

By converting every training college and typing school into a university, there are now 166 degree centres scattered across Britain, and not enough students to fill them. Not simply not enough bright students, but not even enough adolescents wanting to waste three years attending parties and pop concerts before seeking a job.

After decades of rationing education, we now cant even give it away. If only our education planners were in charge of the NHS: waiting lists would disappear overnight.

So for the benefit of anyone wanting one of the many empty places, here is a selection of degree courses available this year. Bradford College is one of several offering Beauty Therapy (though at the London Institute it is grandly called Cosmetic Science). The University of Bradford (no relation) does degrees in mobile communications while Huddersfield offers Computer-Games Programming.

The University of East London offers a BA in Fitness & Health while Nottingham Trent does Floristry and the University of Gloucestershire offers Garden Design with Geography. (If the geography is too challenging, the University of Central England in Birmingham gives degrees in pure garden design.)

Players can take Golf Management degrees at UHI Millennium Institute (wherever that is) while spectators go to South East Essex College for a degree in Sports Studies. For those wishing to study Maradonas hand of God, Canterbury offers Sport Science with Theology.

Exeter gives degrees in Jazz. You can spend three years in Sunderland studying Model-making or go to Derby for a degree in Space Management.

Personally, I fancy Thames Valley Universitys course in International Culinary Arts: learning to cook a good spaghetti bolognese is the reason most students go to university.

Wakey wakey

IT IS Wakes week in the City and has been all summer. Just as Lancashire textile towns used to close down entirely for a week while the mill workers took the charabanc to Blackpool, the Square Mile has laid down its mobile phones, switched off the screens and has decanted to wherever is the new Tuscany.

Office workers are sending picture postcards from far away beaches little caring that there is no one left in the office to read them. The City streets are empty, the wine bars quiet and it is even possible to find a spot with an unhindered view at Thursday night lap-dancing sessions. …

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