Chalk Talk: Want a postgrad degree? Then you’ll need a rich grandma
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 05 December 2012
There has been a lot of controversy over the difficulty in recruiting students to post-graduate courses of late.
The fees hike to up to £9,000 a year for undergraduates has had the effect of putting off degree holders from incurring more debts, it seems.
According to Professor Les Ebden, director of the Office for Fair Access – the university-access watchdog – it’s a question of “grandma’s house” syndrome.
If your grandma happens to have a house at her disposal that she is willing to sell off, you could be all right, he told a conference in London. If not, you could be snookered.
Professor Ebden made these comments while delivering a keynote speech to a conference organised by the Westminster Higher Education Forum. It was the first time many of the media had seen him in action in public since he took over at OFFA in September.
It was not the fire-and-brimstone speech that we might have been led to anticipate by the controversy surrounding his appointment when Conservatives on the Commons business, innovation and skills select committee sought unsuccessfully to block his appointment on the grounds he was a rabid opponent of government policy – threatening to press the “nuclear” button at elite universities who failed to recruit more students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Yes, there had to be demanding targets for recruitment, he opined. If an institution met all its targets with ease, it would suggest they had been too easy in the first place.
However, he all but ruled out fining universities that failed to meet them, preferring the route of negotiation and discussions to solve the problem.
It will be interesting to witness his first scrutiny session with the select committee. So far, I cannot see anything they could hang him on.
Meanwhile, back on a well-worn theme – people with appropriate names for their jobs. The deputy director of the Catholic Education Service is a Mr Pope. No need to say any more at the interview, I guess.
Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
16-year-old girl beaten and burned alive by lynch mob in Rio Bravo, Guatemala
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon is a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?
Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...