The clearing system and the universities

Posted in education, politics by thenextwavefutures on 16 August, 2014

examkapaIt is the week of clearing, when silly-season news is briefly full of stories of would-be university students who didn’t get the grades they needed for their offered places scrambling to get a place somewhere else. Looking at it close-up, the only credible conclusion, now that university education is so expensive, is that the system is designed to benefit the universities far more than the students.

In turn, this represents a whole privileging of the universities and their trade associations, that also promotes the wholesale financialisation of the higher education system. Which is odd, because the previous non-financialised system delivered world-class outcomes at less than world-class costs, and there’s little guarantee that that the financialised system will do the same. Indeed, the evidence so far is that giving universities too much financial autonomy turns them into rogue institutions, if the record of London University is anything to go by, here, here, and here.



UK – an immobile society

Posted in education, equality, poverty, reports, research, social, trends by thenextwavefutures on 20 October, 2007

It would be nice to be able to say something positive about this. But in the space of less than a week, there have been three separate reports which in their own ways have each emphasised how sharp – and how stuck – the differences are between between poor and richer in the UK.


Blindspot – our over-examined children?

Posted in blindspot, children, education, emerging issues, reports, social by thenextwavefutures on 11 June, 2007

In futures work a blindspot is something you can’t see because your assumptions about the way the world is are so strong that they act as blinkers to listening to other views about it. (There’s an amusing discussion of this at the ‘Simply Speaking’ blog).

The depth of a blindspot can be assessed by how quickly the discussion is closed down – and the strength of the language used to do this. I couldn’t help but think of this as I watched the instant and negative reaction of the government, the Conservatives, and newspaper leader-writers to the argument of the General Teaching Council that the extensive testing of under-16 year old children in England might be bad for their education.