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Sunday, 6 October 2013

What should we do that's fair about tuition fees?

At present, the system of charging university fees is very hard on students. They have to repay tens of thousands before they are able to save up for a deposit on a house because of the huge debt saddling them.

But we can't have 50% of our young going for University places when we need more artisans going for apprenticeships. The country needs both so we have to "make a plan".

I would like to see a points system where only the brightest get discounts on university education.

Initial Education
Those that get, say six GCSEs, with at least four at the A+ rate get 2 points.

If they then get three A levels, at least two at the A+ rate in the sciences, they get a further 3 points.

This makes a total of five points. But only applies if they choose one of the following three degrees, otherwise nil points.

These figures can be tweaked to give points ranging from 3 to 5 depending on the number of good marks.

Further Education
Each year, a body consisting of the Minister of Education or his designate, and five directors of the twenty biggest national companies (not international conglomerates) sit down and decide on three degrees that the country sorely needs. The three to be ranked as best, next best and last best.

Students for year one, that year get the following points. Choosing the best of the three, five points, the second best, four points and the third best, three points.

This adds up to 8, 9 or 10 points if they get good GCSEs and A levels..

Students are still charged the full rate for their tuition fees. However, they receive a 10% reduction of their fees, at the end of their three years only, for each point they qualify for.

This way, you get free university education if you have worked hard through school, and you pick the degree that the country needs the most. If you work reasonably hard and you pick the third subject, you can still get a sizeable rebate on your tuition fees.

Easy enough to administer. At the end of the three years, just photocopy your GCSE results, your A level results and your degree diploma and send it in.

The thinking behind this is to avoid the tax-payer having to pay for subjects like "media studies" or Origami! And, other subjects which won't help the UK dominate the scientific and engineering industries.

Also, to persuade many youngsters that the alternatives of apprenticeships are worth going for.

Finally, if you accept tax-payers money, you have to committ to working in Britain for at least fifteen, or perhaps twenty, years before considering immigrating.


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