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billw

The Tattooed One
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When I was at uni in the early 1990s I knew a lot of people doing computer science/programming/etc and we all laughed and called them nerds. Now they're CTOs and/or working for the big tech firms in Silicon Valley. Damn.
 

Ollie78

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I think the most important thing that is missing from education is teaching our kids to actually learn independantly for themselves.
There is so much studying to pass the test, and reciting lists. I think a lot of people are let down by this. Once they leave the system they are in trouble.
The system teaches conformity, so that people are used to sitting in an office with the same rules, same petty squabbles, cliques and office politics as at school.

I think a mandatory year (or more) break between A levels and university should be implemented. Maybe a national service of some sort, not necessarily military. Then it would give time for reflection on what degree you need or if you need one at all.
The university system is largely a money making scheme now, though of course there is many with good intentions and genuine reasons within it.
Since the implementation of student loans in America the cost of studying has increased by a ludicrous amount, as the fees go up, the loans go up everyone makes vast profits and the loans take a lifetime to repay.
I also believe that most degrees could be completed in one year, if you did it full time like a job. There is so much wasted time in the educational year, my brother was going to 2 lectures a week, at the end he did about 2 months of actual work to do his dissertation and pass the course. He could have easily compressed that to a year and saved a fortune.
I stayed in education till 19, but really would have been better just working from about 14 as by then I had lost all interest.

Ollie
 

billw

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I think a mandatory year (or more) break between A levels and university should be implemented. Maybe a national service of some sort, not necessarily military. Then it would give time for reflection on what degree you need or if you need one at all.

I also believe that most degrees could be completed in one year, if you did it full time like a job. There is so much wasted time in the educational year, my brother was going to 2 lectures a week, at the end he did about 2 months of actual work to do his dissertation and pass the course. He could have easily compressed that to a year and saved a fortune.

Mandatory year out - yes I agree that most students at university really don't seem ready at all to cope with it.

One year - no! OK I have 12 "contact hours" a week, across four subjects. It's usually two hours of lecture and one of seminar, obviously it's all virtual now. However, in reality, and because I strive to get the best marks I can, I probably do another 20 hours a week of reading, research, preparation for assignments, and generally widening my knowledge past the basic requirements. That's what, equivalent to a full time job?!

Could I pass my course doing three hours a week? Probably (universities are VERY forgiving at the bottom end of the scale) but what's the point in getting a rubbish degree? A third class degree means you can spell your name and turned up to the right room for an exam. I've seen the quality of some of the work that "passes" and I'd not line my cat's litter tray with it.
 

Phil Pascoe

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About ten years ago I worked with a sixth form college chemistry tutor, a very clever lady well past retiring age who was still doing D of E award hikes etc. - she said she would advise anyone who didn't actually need a degree for entry level jobs such as medicine, architecture, vetinary medicine etc. not to go to university, but to look for jobs in their chosen industry. If they were any good the firms would put them through the training and qualifications.

My daughter met an old school friend one day, came home and told me she'd told her to thank me. I asked what for. My daughter said for showing the girl an article in The Times about blue chip firms starting to take people after A levels and not waiting for degrees. She took it to heart, applied to KPMG and at 23 was a qualified accountant with no debts.
 

Ollie78

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Mandatory year out - yes I agree that most students at university really don't seem ready at all to cope with it.

One year - no! OK I have 12 "contact hours" a week, across four subjects. It's usually two hours of lecture and one of seminar, obviously it's all virtual now. However, in reality, and because I strive to get the best marks I can, I probably do another 20 hours a week of reading, research, preparation for assignments, and generally widening my knowledge past the basic requirements. That's what, equivalent to a full time job?!

Could I pass my course doing three hours a week? Probably (universities are VERY forgiving at the bottom end of the scale) but what's the point in getting a rubbish degree? A third class degree means you can spell your name and turned up to the right room for an exam. I've seen the quality of some of the work that "passes" and I'd not line my cat's litter tray with it.
Ok. I have generalised a great deal and am not suggesting that all degrees are equal.
I certainly don't want doctors qualifying in 12 months.
But if you are doing 12 hours plus 20 hours that still leaves 8 hours for other parts if the studying. Then there is the huge holidays at Easter, summer etc.
If you studied 45 hours a week for say 50 weeks a year, like most jobs then it would certainly be quicker, less expensive and you would be benefitting from your knowledge by getting paid faster.

Ollie
 

Phil Pascoe

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I saw my daughter's head of year when she was about to take A levels. ( I knew the woman to speak to as I'd invigilated exams there.) She told me that when choosing all A levels were of equal value, so I said I presumed that Oxford or Cambridge would accept her A levels in sociology, Media Studies and World Film Studies. She thought for a moment and said Mr. P. you know I can't comment on that. :)
 
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Robbo60

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In my first (and only) year at Uni we were debating my opinion that the degree you took should bear some relevance to the career you intended to take (I was doing an Accountancy and Financial Management degree - hence one year - I was good at Maths) one of the other "chaps" told me I had a very Polytechnic attitude to University (1978). twit - him not me!
 

D_W

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I think the most important thing that is missing from education is teaching our kids to actually learn independantly for themselves.
There is so much studying to pass the test, and reciting lists. I think a lot of people are let down by this. Once they leave the system they are in trouble.
The system teaches conformity, so that people are used to sitting in an office with the same rules, same petty squabbles, cliques and office politics as at school.

I think a mandatory year (or more) break between A levels and university should be implemented. Maybe a national service of some sort, not necessarily military. Then it would give time for reflection on what degree you need or if you need one at all.
The university system is largely a money making scheme now, though of course there is many with good intentions and genuine reasons within it.
Since the implementation of student loans in America the cost of studying has increased by a ludicrous amount, as the fees go up, the loans go up everyone makes vast profits and the loans take a lifetime to repay.
I also believe that most degrees could be completed in one year, if you did it full time like a job. There is so much wasted time in the educational year, my brother was going to 2 lectures a week, at the end he did about 2 months of actual work to do his dissertation and pass the course. He could have easily compressed that to a year and saved a fortune.
I stayed in education till 19, but really would have been better just working from about 14 as by then I had lost all interest.

Ollie
I can say as someone who has a defective brain (I can't really learn from other people, but can learn well on my own), I don't know what the right rule is for how kids should learn. I can say the conventional school system wasn't great for me (I graduated high school on the dean's list, but below a lot of kids with lower aptitude). I could never figure out why I could learn a certain difficulty level or solve problems better than other people but not generally compete on the whole curriculum - until halfway through college when I learned to take notes during lectures to see what I'd have to learn and then go back after class and work through the mechanics of everything myself.

On the opposite side of me are people who can blitz through work accurately, conscientiously and in great detail who don't do that well solving a problem they haven't seen before. I can't do the things they can do, but I can probably solve the problem. I believe this is a brain issue and not an environmental factor, and the person who does both extremely well is in the top percentile of everyone - they can learn either way and be ahead of everyone either way.

I can tell you for sure in the united states that you couldn't do an engineering or mathematics curriculum in a year like a full time job. It's a challenge to do some if you treat them like full time work in the 4 year schedule. Most of my junior and sr. years were more than 40 hours a week and half of each weekend day was spent learning something or preparing for something else. The chem lab folks where I went to school generally received 3 credits for their day course, but the lab portion was about 6-10 hours per week for one additional credit. I don't know what the point of that was, but that was just a thing for them (thankfully not required for math majors).

It would be a wonderful thing if how kids learned was identified earlier on and then those kids would know what tool box they were dealing with and find a job that makes use of it. I had no idea why I was "stupid" for a long time and wasn't aware that ignoring the lectures and working through the mechanical bits (theorem development, etc, in mathematics) was an option. I saw the same frustration with folks who are conscientious and can't learn on their own when they were forced to solve problems that weren't well defined. Telling them to figure something out rather than giving them a structured problem was a waste of time. Those types of folks tend to be very good at day jobs, including complex types if they have the capacity for it, because they're precise and not inundated with the desire to experiment or modify anything.
 

Trainee neophyte

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University used to be the place where the children of the elite went to make connections, find a marriage partner, and set themselves up for a career in their chosen field.

Then someone decided that it was racist to only educate the wealthy or very competent, so everyone had to have a degree. Instead of the best (or wealthiest) 5% of the population, 50% would go to university. However, this could no longer be funded by the tax payer, so would be funded by the poor students themselves. All good, until someone discovered this was a creative way to pump new debt into the economy, and basically used university education as as form of quantitative easing. It's all about the debt creation now.

If you want to have have a career that makes money, look at who drives ludicrously expensive super cars, and follow that path. If you want to have some integrity, probably best not be a banker (or a politician).
 

D_W

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re: the above comment about the loan system being the profit center for schools. I have a different opinion about that. Certainly loan agenting is profitable, but here's what really happens:
* a broker or brokering service of some sort originates a loan. The loan gets sold into a portfolio or the secondary market, and the holder of the loan who wants low risk credit generally doesn't get much of a return on the loan, but because it's not dischargeable in the US with bankruptcy (at least wasn't), its creditworthiness is pretty good.
* individuals who can't qualify for above can end up with higher interest private loans, but this should tell someone that they shouldn't be taking the loan in the first place
* the colleges themselves have run up enormous amounts of expenditures with building projects into the billions, and the students shopping on brochures and appearance like this. I'm convinced these building wars are at least half of the cost of college as the staff at schools hasn't seen pay increases commensurate with tuition and room and board.
* in the event that someone visits a few colleges and they go to one that's bare bones, they aren't looking at the graduate job placement or proficiency on graduate school standardized testing, they just figure the cheesy cheap college must not be as good. This type of school has gradually left the fray

In turn, the colleges start stratifying who can pay and how much so the no questions asked tuition goes even higher, exacerbating the problem, and then the objective is to offer scholarships to high aptitude students who don't have the money to go where they really want to go and then extract money from those with means who want to go to said school. Guess what happens to the individuals who don't have the academic means to be desirable to the school, but who can qualify for loans. They pay something in the middle (which is an absurd number).

The loan agents involved aren't interested in trying to find slaves, they're interested in making a spread on the loan and then it's off of their balance sheet once they securitize it. The real problem is the cost of the education, not the loan, and the lack of honesty at the "point of sale". That is, if someone is going to a college that costs $125k in loans plus some outside money to learn "integrative dance", it's verboten for someone to come up to them without university apparel on who says "look, I'm going to do you a favor here. what you're about to do isn't a good idea".

As long as students pick the snappy expensive school over one that's got older buildings and less frills, this will continue to occur. As long as it is popular to encourage people to be "well rounded" and leave school with something that doesn't give them any legitimate chance at a job related to said "well rounding", it will continue.
 

Spectric

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I think the most important thing that is missing from education is teaching our kids to actually learn independantly for themselves.
That always used to be fundamental, explaining to students the process of self discipline and self learning.
 

billw

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That always used to be fundamental, explaining to students the process of self discipline and self learning.
They genuinely need spoon-feeding these days. They honestly think they just turn up and sit in a lecture for two hours a week and that will be enough. They don't get told to do homework or anything extra, so they don't.

Just before we had to hand in an assignment I was asked how many references I'd used. It was just over 30, which I thought was sufficient. The lecturer later said 15 was about right. They'd used 4 because they didn't know how to find other material so just asked their friends what they were reading.
 

NickDReed

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University used to be the place where the children of the elite went to make connections, find a marriage partner, and set themselves up for a career in their chosen field.

Then someone decided that it was racist to only educate the wealthy or very competent, so everyone had to have a degree. Instead of the best (or wealthiest) 5% of the population, 50% would go to university. However, this could no longer be funded by the tax payer, so would be funded by the poor students themselves. All good, until someone discovered this was a creative way to pump new debt into the economy, and basically used university education as as form of quantitative easing. It's all about the debt creation now.

If you want to have have a career that makes money, look at who drives ludicrously expensive super cars, and follow that path. If you want to have some integrity, probably best not be a banker (or a politician).
Did that...... Turned out the car was on finance.....BIG ISSUE!!! GET YA BIG ISSUE..... no pippers on the high Street these days
 

deema

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I took early retirement and now ‘play’ at restoring machines to keep me occupied. I’ve found that wood working machines tend to fit into three broad categories
1. ’Old Iron‘ Wadkins, original old Startrite, Multico, Dominion SCM etc. These are all generally good quality machines, last for generations with a small amount of TLC. They are fairly easy to restore and repair, making parts for them is feasible. They hold their value well, making restoration viable.
2. Modern industrial machines, Altendorf , SCM, Panhans etc, these again are all genarlly good quality machines, however, as soon as I see electronics and any age I know that parts are likely to be obsolete, and repairing a PCB is really a none starter. The cost of electronic proprietary parts is eye watering and most one and two person businesses or enthusiasts are not going to be willing to pay for the repairs.
3. modern hobby grade machines. These are just none starters. The quality of the parts I’ve found is ‘just about adequate’ , and value engineered to death, and mostly they don’t actual perform properly with ‘problems’ that either the user isnt aware of, or believe is what they should put up with. Repairing these machines in general isn’t worth it, I start with one issue and before long find that in reality, I can’t actually get the machine working properly. It never had worked properly and the design means that it’s actually not feasible without an extensive rebuild. Again, people are unwilling to pay for.

I do repair and service machines, mainly for people who have bought machines from me. To do it properly, you need a fair bit of kit. What I’ve found is like you, that there are very few if any people servicing and repairing machines.
 

mikej460

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I didn't do a 1st degree as I was persuaded by my Dad to become an Engineer after my O levels, but I did what others have mentioned and joined Companies that funded my further education. This eventually led to studying my masters at Lancaster Uni as a mature student in the early 90s and it was the most rewarding experience of my life. I really enjoyed student life and the discipline of studying and researching but it was blummin hard work. They drove students very hard but in a way that motivated you to do better.
 
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