Friday, February 17, 2006

University Applications

Have new tuition fees affected applications? Almost certainly the introduction of fees in 06/07 has distorted the number of applications that were made in 05/06 (ie the 8% increase), and the 4% decrease this year. This was to be expected. The same happened on the introduction of the £1000 fee in '97. There was an above average rise before, then a decrease in the year of introduction, but taken over the two years applications increased.
What most commentators might have missed was that despite the 8% rise in applications, there hasn't been that level of increase in student enrolments. Where there have been increases in funded places, there have been increases in applications, but some of that has been associated with the courses being vocational (nursing and social work apps are up, but so is the availability of places).
I'm glad to see we've inherited another numpty as a HE minister with his choice comments on the above average decrease for "non-vocational" courses:
A sharp fall in the number of university applicants wanting to study such "non-vocational" subjects as history, philosophy, classics and fine art was "no bad thing", Bill Rammell, the higher education minister, said yesterday.

This has resonances of Charles Clarke and his comments about not needing more historians. I suspect that the newLabour mindset is very Orwellian and therefore historians are no longer required as there is a whole cadre of people to rewrite it for their current political masters. In the same way we no longer need philosophers trained in logic and argument as there is no longer any dialogue or debate.


At 7:37 pm, Blogger Tristan said...

'non-vocational' subjects have no place in New Labour's vision as they do not contribute to society in an easily definable way.

For New Labour, HE serves two purposes: keeping unemployment figures down (through more people in HE) and providing the skills they believe will be needed in the future (something which they don't and cannot know, but they like to plan our lives for us).


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