Sunday, 28 January 2018

A bit of a rant about education funding!

What a sad world it would be if the only education available were the immediately and obviously practical and applicable. Robert Halton, chair of the Commons select committee on education, has been expressing his view that students should get discounts on fees for degrees in subjects that address skill shortages, subjects such as healthcare, coding, construction or engineering. He singled out medieval history for special attention: “If someone wants to do medieval history, that’s fine. You still take put your loan and pay it. But all the incentives from government and so on should go to areas the country needs and will bring it most benefit.”

Presumably the same criteria would apply to courses in music, art, literature, maybe even foreign languages - after all, every other nation seems to manage to learn to speak English perfectly well! Without going into arguments about how a degree in almost any discipline trains you to analyse material, weigh arguments for and against matters, make reasoned decisions and so on, it is worth noting, as a professor of medieval history at King’s College, Cambridge pointed out, that few cabinet ministers in the past 30 years have had degrees in science, technology, engineering or maths.

Music and art are already being squeezed out of primary schools all over the country. Why not take it to its logical conclusion? We could come down to teaching basic reading and writing - just enough to cope with the everyday stuff, nothing fancy - and basic mathematics - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division - no need for complicated geometry and algebra.

That would substantially lessen the teachers’ workload as they would not need to prepare faddy topic-based lessons!

After all, we can rely on private schools to educate the potential artists, actors, architects, scientists and politicians!

Okay! Rant over! Almost!

Here is a link to a story about rich people asking animal lovers everywhere to help pay vets’ fees for their dog.

“The chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi and his fashion designer wife have raised more than £5,000 to get their Instagram-star dog treated by a celebrity vet, after asking followers for donations on a crowdfunding website.”

You see, you have to know how to get people on your side by putting pictures of your dog out in the media and then appeal to their bump of sentimentality when the poor dog needs attention. What I fail to understand is why the dog needs to go to such an expensive vet. Surely there is a more economical option that would fit into the boundaries set by the pet insurance.

But how impressive to be a rich person and manage to organise crowdfunding to pay your bills! They must have had the right kind of education!

Listening to the radio news, I just heard about an attempted robbery of bitcoins, or maybe even a partially successful robbery of the same. I am having some difficulty understanding how it is possible to steal a virtual currency!

That must be because I have a degree in modern languages and not in technology!

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