University Education

Lancaster University Lancaster Medical School Celebratory Reception 2017

Having been through the academic process from undergraduate to PhD level, it is apparent to some of us here that education is a box-ticking exercise to ensure bums-on-seats for the financial reward of the university. It is devoid of useful information in favour of teaching what is expected by business. But business only expects it because universities teach it, and the cycle continues ad nauseum.

For example, one way of looking at the future of academia which might be uncomfortable for those in systemic power could be this: Click Me.

The Google article is a perspective, and a way to think ABOUT our children’s education. It is not the only answer. We also think this is potentially the way forward for university education, as well as a more developmental attitude towards learning. Click this link!

And although this short video is about young children, the problem persists up to university level. Click Here.

University Admission

At the time of writing (November 2020), the university process is about to be disrupted by an initiative that is obvious, yet somehow no previous government as dared to tackle it.

The government plans radical reform to the university admissions after vice-chancellors supported a change to the current system.

The change will be that students receive their university offers after they have gained their A-level results. This could mean pushing back the start of the degree to January instead of the normal autumn date.

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, is said to want to move quickly on changing admissions, so that teenagers will get offers from universitiesas soon after receiving their A-level results as possible.

At the moment, sixth-formers have to apply based on predicted grades and narrow their choices to two institutions ahead of actual results. This has always been considered an inappropriate method for selection, not taking into account the meaninglessness of the examination process. Teenagers who perform all year, with excellent fortitude and direction yet somehow fall apart in their final exam are punished for what is a basic test of memory, not capacity. This change is 20 years in the making, and the NPP thinks it is a good start.

Vice-chancellors and ministers are keen to eradicate the use of “conditional offers” that compel students to put a university as their firm choice in exchange for a guaranteed place regardless of their grades.

These offers are not in pupils’ best interests as they can lead to lower A-level grades by way of lower motivation.

The UK suggest that change could be implemented by 2023, a year before the next election. This would mean students applying for university from September 2022 would be the guinea pigs of the new system.

The NPP would like to see this kind of reform as it can only be in the best interests of the undergraduate student.

The next reform will be university fees. Were the above to take place, it will impact which universities are truly open to students, and tier system of grades gained versus university applications will develop and this will allow future students to question the validity of the fees in light of perceived rankings.

Bespoke Degrees – A New Idea?

Building on the above ideas, the next element in the process for educating our young is actually giving them the choice of what they want to learn. And how they want to learn it.

Every degree should be a process of education that focuses on vertical develompent, not simply horizontal education and the downloading of information. Students can get the information from Google. What they need to learn is how to be more discerning. Which information is good and which is bad.

We will build on this idea and put it here very soon. Rest assured that a number of us here are PhD university lecturers and have first hand experience of the whole system. It is our ideas that provoke the rethinking on this after we have experienced good and bad practises over the years.

This is an interesting article by Pearson on how we learn and why.

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