Twenty Minute Topic Episode 65: Is University Worth It?

Going to university and getting a degree isn’t the golden ticket to getting on in life that it once was.

Marcus Stead and Greg Lance-Watkins debate whether going to university is a good idea for young people in the modern era.

In the 1960s, just 4% of young people went to university. By the end of the 1970s, that figure had risen to 14%. The university sector expanded hugely during the 1990s, and later on, the Blair government set a target of getting 50% of young people into university, and that figure was reached a few years ago.

Modern-day students can expect to pay tuition fees of £9,000 per year, which over three years equates to £27,000, and that’s without taking into account rent and living costs.
Having a university degree does not guarantee young people a well-paid job in the subject area for which they are qualified, and the days when a degree meant a company pension and early retirement are long gone.

Far from encouraging free speech and exposing students to new ideas and perspectives, all too often, modern-day universities are restricting these freedoms and are promoting fashionable left-wing causes, complete with ‘safe zones’ for students unable to cope with hearing opinions with which they differ.

Getting large numbers of young people into universities is politically convenient because it allows governments of all colours to make youth unemployment figures appear far lower than they actually are.

Meanwhile, there is very obviously a shortage of plumbers, electricians and skilled handymen (and women) in modern Britain. Would many young people not be better off learning a trade?

The podcast is available on the Talk Podcasts website, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Spotify and the iTunes app.
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