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September 30, 2004
"If you ask a lot of these people why they went to university they don't really know "

I missed this story when it was published, on the 24th.

First few paragraphs:

Philip Green, the retail billionaire, is planning to build the country's first fashion and retail academy in an attempt to "produce the next generation of entrepreneurs".

The owner of Bhs, Top Shop and Miss Selfridge has donated £5m to what would be the first specialist college to train 16- to 19-year-olds for a career in fashion retail.

The college will train 200 school-leavers a year in marketing, finance and fashion buying and Mr Green who recently tried to buy Marks & Spencer hopes it will open for business in September 2005.

Mr Green, who left school at 16, said he had been driven to invest in the scheme by his difficulties in recruiting good staff for his own business. "We need to do something to produce the next generation of entrepreneurs," he said. Mr Green said it was often difficult to tell the difference between graduates and those who had left school with only A-levels.

"If you ask a lot of these people why they went to university they don't really know. It's either because they think it's what you are supposed to do or because it gives them another three years before they have to go out to work.

"If you get underneath it all some of it really defies logic. We take on A-level people and graduates who are three years older but are only earning £500 more. That's quite scary given that it probably costs them £30,000 or £40,000 to get there."


Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 05:45 PM
Category: Higher education

Seems to be the beginning of the end of the educational meritocracy. Education was useful when is separated individuals, but now the vast majority gain some degree of education, and the value plummets. Perhaps the age of brick and mortar education is coming to an end. People will be expected to perform, not trot out pieces of paper that state a third party believes this person to be suitable for X.

Comment by: Brad Dexter on September 30, 2004 08:58 PM

Exactly. They didn't say, "Because it was the best way of getting together with other clever people and I had a better time learning stuff there than I could have had living any other kind of a life for those years." They are either avoiding work (a negative) or doing what they think they are meant to do, which means they are naively trusting the social norms to have some purpose behind them- which they are *not* discovering when they actually go to university.

I'd say they're being duped by the system's assertions of educational authority, and it can't go on forever. The real place for university education is actually very small and limited high-academia, for a very few brilliant abstract minds.

Comment by: Alice on October 3, 2004 01:23 AM
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