Two Year Degrees

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2017 by chr1sr0berts


**Scene inside the Tory Cabinet Office**

Theresa May: “OK so young people are not voting for us, we need a policy that appeals to them”

Policy Adviser: “hmmmm, OK, what do you propose? Some sort of industrial strategy, you know, one that might lead to more skills and employment opportunities?”

**Tory MP’s look blank and confused**

Policy Adviser: “How about legislating on a much higher minimum wage?”

**snorts of derision**

Policy Adviser: “Public investment in ….I don’t know, housing?”

**no response**

Jo Johnson (Minister for Higher Education): “I know, I’ve identified the problem, students are graduating with too much debt, right?”

Policy Adviser: “Riiiiight, but that’s our fault, isn’t it? We tripled tuition fees”

Entire Cabinet in unison: “SHUT UP!”

Policy Adviser: “Erm, so what’s the solution you’ve come up with? Decrease fees? Reinstate the central teaching grant? Write-off some of the debt?”

Jo Johnson: “No, we’ll offer 2 year degrees….less time, less debt!”

**Entire Cabinet high-five and head off for a celebration leaving policy adviser to work up the document**

– Later that day –

**Scene: Inside Dept of Education. Policy Adviser trying to reason with Jo Johnson**

Policy Adviser: “There are a few problems with this policy….Firstly, won’t this introduce a 2 tier system?”

Jo Johnson: “What do you mean?”

Policy Adviser: “Well, those that can afford it, will continue to do the traditional, if you like ‘proper’ degree programme…

Jo Johnson: “Don’t call it proper, this is just as good as the old 3 year degree”

Policy Adviser: “Would you expect your children to do one of these ‘2 year degrees’?

Jo Johnson: “Don’t think I didn’t see those ‘air quotes'”

Policy Adviser: “Sorry Minister….but….well, would you?”

(from 2 mins 45 secs)


Jo Johnson: “…… ……. ….. Look, there are a range of different options”

Policy Adviser *sighing* “OK, look, another thing. Who will teach these degrees? The thing about degrees is that they’re taught by the very people doing the research. Research takes time, certainly to do it properly. In those weeks when students aren’t on campus, that’s when the academic staff do their research. They all have to submit to the REF”

Jo Johnson: “I agree, I was taught (at Oxford) by some wonderful research active staff….”

Policy Adviser: “Precisely, that’s my point. You’re a beneficiary of that system which this new one will deny to those choosing the 2 year degree. Research, and that it’s undertaken by the very people teaching you is one of the key things that makes it a DEGREE…you know HIGHER Education. When would they have time to undertake their research?”

Jo Johnson: “Well maybe these 2 year degrees would be taught by other staff, perhaps younger academic staff.”

Policy Adviser: “But then these other teaching-only staff will be offering a different course. THEY’RE NOT THE RESEARCH ACTIVE STAFF! So it’ll be a different degree. A two-tier system”

Jo Johnson: “But it’ll reduce the time, hence reducing debt. Everyone’s a winner!” *Jo Johnson smiles to himself*

Policy Adviser: “OK, let me see if I’ve got this right. So you’ve identified the problem as ‘too much debt’? But then instead of reducing or removing the debt burden, you’re simply reducing the quality of the ‘product’….but they’re still in debt, right? Additionally, and this something you’re silent on, many of the students most concerned about debt actually work during their degrees. In your new ‘2 year degree’ when would they have time to work? And, I hate to bring it up again….but when would the academic staff have time to do research….you know, the very thing that differentiates a degree programme from other forms of education?”

**Jo Johnson is now grinning inanely, he walks backwards out of the room still grinning**

— Later that evening —

**Scene: In the cinema queue**

Ticket seller: “Hello sir. Now, with this particular film, we have a special offer on”

Jo Johnson: “Ooooh, sounds interesting….do tell”

Ticket Seller: “Well, you can either pay £15 or £10”

Jo Johnson: “Well obviously I’ll take the £10 option….but, what’s the catch?”

Ticket Seller: “No catch sir, it’s just what we like to call our “accelerated” viewing experience. Don’t worry, it’s exactly the same, no difference in actual quality, it’s the same film, just you watch it at a quicker pace.”

Jo Johnson: “errrrmmm….what?”

Ticket Seller: “Look, we’re just trying to ‘break the mould’ of a system in which the normal 90 minute films have ‘crowded out’ any ‘more flexible ways of viewing’”

Jo Johnson: “Erm, right. But it IS the same film, though?”

Ticket seller: “Yep yep, exactly the same. You just watch it quicker. If you don’t mind me saying, sir, you also look like a mature viewer. ‘This latest policy is particularly attractive for mature viewers ….who might want to go through the film watching experience at a faster pace'”

BBC TF ii.png

**looking slightly baffled, Johnson gives it a go**

–Scene: Inside the cinema screen

**Johnson frowning and looking bemused….struggling to understand and keep up as a sped-up 90 minute film rushes past in 60 minutes. Dialogue too fast, frames moving at 36 frames per second**

–Final Scene **Jo Johnson shouting and demanding his money back**
Coming to a University Campus near you ….*possibly*



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