Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The University of Grit. For ALL your learning needs!

Thanks to the news, I told Shark that her degree from Southampton University is probably in the balance.

It depends how many tenners I can stash in my knicker drawer. I warned her. Debts of 30K do not happen to a child without a lot of parental involvement. It's probably not going to be that high if she carries on munching her way through the Pricey Ricicles. Sacrifices from us all are in order.

But I'm offering consolation. Because, from what I can make out, Lord Browne's just waved a big green flag for private companies to expand into UK Higher Education.

Shark, think about it. I can make a company happen and put on a degree course in fish and water, no problem. With the fees you now owe me, I could buy a paddle pool, fill it with water, chuck in a few mackerel, and Bob's your uncle. I mean, what more is there to a marine thingy course? A couple of waves? A few graphs in an exercise book? I could do those.

You want a teacher? I could stitch together a private contract and get Squirrel to turn up every Thursday and draw a picture of the Lesser Known Fairy Fish then you could go and research where it lives. How about that?

Obviously, I will take into account the cost of all this to you. It's no good charging you too little for my marine thingy course, because everyone would think the course I was offering was crap. No. I have to charge you A LOT. Then everyone will think I'm offering a really fantastic course!

Think about this, Shark. With your support to get me started, I can attract proper research. Like, how many Sainsbury's mackerel fit in an average-sized paddle pool from Tesco Direct? You see? Fair and balanced. I'm bound to find a starving lecturer to do that one for me. Some desperate geezer who needs a job and a 5-minute slot on BBC Radio 4 morning show.

Once I've got the research in place, then I'll rise up the rankings! I'll join the UK equivalent of the Ivy League! Serious money will pour in. Research funds from Tesco Direct. Promotion from the Eat More Mackerel Board. Endowments from Sainsbury's. They'll be falling over themselves to get at my door.

Shark, don't interrupt. I'm on a roll. We'll advertise overseas and milk the foreign students. Especially the loaded ones who are as dim as a bucket of rock. Better still, ones who are both dim and don't speak English. I'll sell them pre-sessional foundation courses, English language support sessions, and fish identification modules.

Yes, the dim ones will need somewhere to live while they're in the UK. Good thinking. I'll chum up with a property developer, build a few tower blocks with a toilet on the 10th floor, then we'll rent the accommodation to a university that's been around a bit. I don't know. How does Sussex sound?

But it won't stop there! The world's wide open! I'll only need a few quid more from you, Shark, to make a pitch for educational database management, learning platform co-ordination, educational software support and student administration. I'll have to fight off Capita. They'll be sniffing round, now they're at a loose end what with the Labour government contracts going up in smoke.

But just imagine what this could all lead to Shark! It's what Lord Browne wants me to do! It is my calling! My very own properly funded private university!

Shark, let's get started. You give me the 30K now, and I'll roll out the advertising banner.

Thank you Mark Steel and the Joint Venture Watch from UCU. Apologies, probably in perpetuity, to Southampton University.


Big mamma frog said...

Ah! Sounds like you have it all worked out.

I'm starting to be grateful that my kids have no conventional academic tendencies - just think how much money I'm going to save!

Yeah, son, go play your guitar with your chums. At least you'll be earning money busking rather than working up huge debts listening to some shrivelled professor in a lecture room.

sharon said...

Sadly it's becoming hard to imagine how anyone from an ordinary family will be able to study at tertiary level without signing away their earnings for the following 50 years. This is not confined to the UK either, it's becoming more and more expensive here in Australia too although students from lower income families can still apply for a support allowance that doesn't need re-paying - so far! The tuition fees however are charged, with interest for those who cannot afford to pre-pay (for which there is a discount).

Angela said...

I could come and teach German at your University (if you let me live somewhere for free). My neighbour is a fisherman, he could tell me ALL about mackerels, where they live and how they look and communicate, and how they are best prepared (he has a fish restaurant). I LOVE your idea of a private University. Count on me, I can just send letters from Usedom if I don`t have to appear in person. And don`t all of us in blogland have some special knowledge we can contribute?

MadameSmokinGun said...

I'm with Big Mamma - having totally non-pen-wielding offspring is looking goooooood.

I'd go seriously out of my way to discourage them from even thinking about getting clever.

Grit said...

i believe busking is a fairly accepted career path these days, isn't it mama frog? one of my thoughts in encouraging tiger to take up the violin was that when she finally snaps and has enough of all of us, at least she could earn a few quid to buy herself a meal.

i think it's a worldwide trend sharon. although some countries maintain tertiary education as state supported so it's free for the students? good idea to get the kids bilingual in a country where the education's cheaper.

angela, that is a brilliant idea. i'm going to give it some thought now!

mme sg, we are talking the dear old OU if the kids want to pursue an academic course. i don't think they do marine thingy courses though.

we would struggle round here with 3 kids the same age needing the same financial support simultaneously.

but we show already by home educating that you don't really need to spend 30K a head and start a career built on debt just to get yourself some learning. it's the certificate in some cases i think kids are buying.

i'm sure i could knock one of those out too.