Is three years of university education worth it in this time of economic crisis?
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Planning for the future
If this economic crisis has taught us anything it should be that we need to plan our finances. Not for only for the short term but for the long term. By completing three years of university education, a student is increasing their future opportunities for better pay and better prospects. Getting a degree is often seen as a fast track route to a good career. Instead of starting on low pay and working your way up a career ladder for years, three years of fun at university and you can start on the middle rung of the ladder.
Now, more than ever before, a university degree does not necessarily guarantee an opportunity to start on the middle rung of the ladder. A degree is not enough at the moment in order to guarantee a successful future. Employers now value experience highly perhaps as much as a degree, particularly when graduate schemes become increasingly competitive. Many graduates, in fact, still have to settle for starting on low pay and working their way up the career ladder for years.
Cannot put a price on education
Education should not be seen as a means to an end. Education is valuable in itself, regardless of careers. The freedom of information, being able to pass on information and opinion, is such a valuable right that we take for granted. This right should be grabbed with both hands.
People should be educated not for merely fiscal reasons but also to expand their mind, think out of the box. They should enjoy being able to study learn things which will enrich their lives. Education is worth far more than the money you pay for it.
With a highly uncertain future, many people may choose not to take on three years of debt in exchange for a non-vocational subject that will not guarantee a job at the end.
Two-year degrees allow for more concentrated studying, more focused and potentially vocational courses, and less debt. There is also no reason not to continue at the end if the studying proves wortwhile in its own right.
Learning is increasingly a lifelong affair and the assumption that people will come out of university with all the skills they need is unrealistic.
It is also unrealistic to insist that education be judged on purely non-commercial terms - motives tend to be mixed and it is unfair to require a commercial investment without offering a commercial return if such is desired.
Why should we assume a university degree needs three years? Specialist skills take a MSc or a PhD to acquire, and more basic skills can be taught in less.
Talk of recession is a bigger problem than the recession itself
People who continually talk in melancholy of the recession are deluded and in espousing their views on how the economic turmoil is ruining people's lives the self-fulfilling prophecy occurs and people do stop living their lives. All of a sudden people are so conscious of their money that all life's chances have slipped away. This cycle needs to be broken, and the way to do this is through education. It is short sighted to say that education is not worth it in this financial climate. We ned to educate individuals so that this recession never happens again. Lack of education caused this recession and it is education that will get us out of it.
This argument is naive in trying to suggest that the recession is nothing more than people causing hysteria. The fact is people are losing their homes and their livelihoods. Let us not forget that the people who started this crisis were educated bankers. Selfishly trying to allure the poor to get loans they cannot afford so that the bankers could go home with a hefty bonus in their pocket. The cycle was not started by lack of education, the problem was started by people being greedy. So what needs to be stopped is greed. So instead of going to university and indulging oneself in all of the vices available, perhaps students should think about their family and what they need. This is the mentality we need to uphold and maintain through this recession, not self improvement.
refuge from the crisis.
Financial analysts have forecast this recession to last for two full years. If a degree is three years long then students can avoid the pains of the recession and the depression that goes along with it by taking out a student loan to cover their finances and studying. University is a safe haven from the recession. With no mortgage to pay and hopefully no children to support, what better time to get educated for three years than the present. By the time new students will have finished their degrees the recession will be over.Those who have gone into university will have acquired the skillsets and bredth of knowledge sort after by a multitude of employers, meaning they can attain the benefits of a degree and avoid the economic hardship of the recession.
The older generation are not equipped to deal with the recession, times have moved since they were educated, technology surpasses them. Many cannot find another job due to this change of focus to technology in employment. It is for this reason that parents are relying on their children to get jobs to support their family. These students may not have children of their own to look after but that does not mean that they have no financial obligations to the people who brought them up. Instead of being selfish and taking three years of partying in the vain hope of getting a better job at the end of it, students should support those who they love and wait till the recession is over before they fly the nest.
Debt at this time should be avoided at all costs
"The NUS has reported that students are still sleepwalking into debt"(1) and this is a dangerous mentality to have. The credit crunch began because people were taking on debts not thinking to the future, not thinking about how to pay these debts off. Such a mentality needs to be quashed, to do this, students needs to really consider whether going to university is a viable option for them, whether going to university and getting into debt is worth it when there is so much financial turmoil in the world.
Yes, of course students will have to be more weary of their financial situation but with the student finance company offering loans which do not have to be repaid until you are earning over 15,000 GBP. Even then, the repayments start at 5 GBP a week(1), so not a crippling extortion like the other form of loans which led this country into a recession. Student debt is the safest debt and the soundest investment, therefore the current economic climate should have no impact on deciding whether to go to university or not.
No guarantee of a job at the end of it
By going to university, most students think that they will be guaranteed a job at the end of their studies, but this simply is not the case. Of those who graduated in 2006, only 61% were in full time employment in the UK (1). Many go on to further education, but surely this is a time filler due to an inability to get a job. Imagine how this percentage will be affected by the recession and the high level of employment now in this country. Employment is set to soar above 3 million this year (2), so students would be wise to secure a job now instead of leaving it too late.
This reasoning is fallacious. There is little point in "securing a job" now when the reality is jobs are unstable and redundancy is likely. The idea of securing a job is nigh impossible and naive.
It is also the case that school leavers will often go into the retail and manufacturing industries; these are the industries which are most affected! Surely the best thing to do when these industries are collapsing is to go to university in order to get a job in different and more stable industries. Jobs which are outside the retail and manufacturing industry are most likely to need graduates. Civil service, law, medicine are to name but a few. Therefore, going to university for three years will lead to more opportunities in stable industries.
Furthermore, it is the students responsibility to ensure they have a job to move into at the culmination of their degree. Those who really do want to succeed can get experience in their choice of profession before they graduate, having an advantage over those who choose university for the wrong reasons.
Lastly, the education sector provides a wealth of jobs. Everything from maintenance, installation, cooking, teaching/lecturing and research is catered for. Often the research performed in universities leads to new technologies, which in turn leads to new jobs. A vast percentage of todays' children will grow up to enter jobs that currently don't exist.
What do you think?