Ros Wynne-Jones's figures suggest that it is applications to non-vocational courses such as (her examples) environmental studies, art and design technology, media studies, humanities and social sciences that have dropped substantially since the introduction of the Government's tuition fees policy. Surely this is because would-be students for these courses realise they are unlikely to get a job to pay off their loan after they graduate. Which leads me to ask the question, is it in anybody's interests (except for the relevant university staff) that huge numbers of students study these subjects just to end up on the dole or in a job for which they don't need a degree at all?
If the Government's policy has the effect that more students switch to courses such as science, engineering or computing, which do lead to jobs, rather than being seduced by the spurious glamour of fashionable non- vocational courses, then it will have gone a long way towards solving the problem of matching intelligent young people to the future jobs which require intelligence. There is indeed a "gigantic confidence trick" in higher education but the con men are not the government.
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