Aladdin cancelled

An advantage of joining HM armed forces.

But perhaps not if there is to be war.

The UK police have no connection to the armed forcesA lot of people join the military to get a professional trade serve while they are studying and sign up for a specific number of years With the police people were considering joining to get a degree and then going

Not suggesting police are the forces. Just suggesting an alternative route for ‘free’ education.

TBH I have been finding the whole degree thing somewhat bizarre for quite decades now. Often science graduates seem to have little more idea of science than a school leaver with A levels, and even though I know that can’t be true, it often feels like they have little idea about what’s going on.

I would agree that a degree should be about training students how to think and how to independently acquire knowledge. I see a PhD as being able to demonstrate that they can plan a course of action based on acquired knowledge, and then defend any additional understanding that comes from that action.

This does make me wonder if we might not be better off letting the brightest and best go to university, while everyone else had a vocational approach to education. It would develop those who won’t really gain from their degrees, possibly giving them a stronger skill set than a university could.

For clarity, I have no PhD, and got my degree through part-time study and day release. University might have been fun, but possibly less beneficial, and I do what I love.

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Well, I once played Wishy Washy in Tabriz, Iran; crowd o students howled with laughter. Thought the lead was like The Man from Rasht!

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True, but I’d add that the critical distinction is that the research is original and this factor distinguishes a PhD from an MPhil, or the more recent (and to me seemingly pointless) MRes.

Re p/t study, I did my Masters and PhD while working full time - nothing to be ashamed about. Furthermore, I had the immense pleasure of teaching many OU students who had MSc or science doctorates and were doing p/t Arts & Humanities BAs out of sheer curiosity and love of learning. Sadly when the OU was obliged to align its tuition fees with traditional universities, this category of student disappeared.

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The French seemingly traditional artisan system is interesting for continuing to train people like stone masons and other practitioners of traditional crafts (as distinct from sculptors working in stone). It seems to have remained close to the mediaeval guilds, masters and journeymen, whereas the post Renaissance creation of arts academies placed art and architecture amongst the ‘higher’ forms of activity.

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I think that rather highlights the problem we are discussing.

I would suggest that there are plenty of of very bright people who do not go to university, & am convinced that the “best” are spread across the whole system.

Assuming that going to university sets someone above others entrenches societal division.


Beware the torries under the beds.

I have assumed that university is about education and training. If training and educating the brightest individuals in the country means that they can acheive more and better things then that seems to me to be a good thing. Of course not everyone will learn best in that kind of environment, which is why there should be other ways of learning and equipping too. I would suggest that the ‘popularisation’ of university has simply devalued the degree, forcing ordinary people to take on debts they often cannot manage to get jobs that require them as a means of entry where O or A levels would have previously been adequate.

As for divisions, we’ll always have those, as long as mankind is allowed independence of action and thought. Even in a system where a nominal equality is rigidly enforced, there will be those who rise to become more equal than others, flexing their coercive muscles like a playground bully flexes his biceps. I don’t like divisions, but also expect them.

Absolutely. However, my point is that the brightest & the best are not only to be found amongst the alumni of universities.

I am concerned that there might be an assumption that if you haven’t been along the path of academia that you are somehow inferior.


Very true Badger - Oxford especially has been turning out stupid Tories for years !

What makes any individual wise, or good, is a complex of many influences. But it seems to me crazy to argue that learning does not generally add to the quality of our life experience and the contribution we can make back to society - down that line lies the Govian ‘this country has had enough of experts’ view, and in the end the fascist ‘death to intelligence’.

There is also a view - also mainly on the political right - that going to ‘the university of life’ is somehow better than actually going to university. Problem is, in general kids that go to a real university also generally see more of life - they travel more, meet more people, from more different backgrounds, they party more, experiment more, have more opportunities. They probably have more ‘hard knocks’ too. Much of the time they spend ‘book learning’ is generally spent by their non-university contemporaries on mind-numbing manual or routine office work that adds little to real life experience.

Some of the people I most admire, and am proud to call friends, missed out on university - and I got there, like anybody from a working class home, by luck - the new teacher whose youthful optimism saw something in a poor kid the world had already written off, etc… But those people I admire don’t go round implying that it’s better not to go to university, not to learn. On the contrary, they place a really high value on education, they fight for their kids, and everybody’s kids, to have the educational opportunities they missed out on.


It that a view genuinely held believing the “real world” is a better education , or born of “‘your’ sort don’t deserve a Uni education, whereas ‘mine’ do”?

I suspect that it’s often the latter.

One doesn’t need a University education to become a millionaire, of course, but I’m often struck by how the “poor kid made good types” are frequently unremittingly awful people (Alan Sugar, I’m looking at you).


Indeed. people that tell those ‘self-made-man’ stories (and, curiously, they do always seem to be men, don’t they?) are just immersed in self-justification - bad faith.
The truth is that - in the UK at least - if you come from a disadvantaged background the intervention of lucky circumstance is essential if you are going to move on to a more fulfilling life - and for most that means first being lucky enough to get an education.


And having your assumptions challenged, and realising you aren’t as brilliant as you thought, and that maybe your parents aren’t always right, and finding out what you really want to do.

That said while I loved the time I spent at university, quite a lot of it seeing I took two ‘gap years’ which I spent at university in Germany so I’d be the same age as everyone else when I started in the UK, I still think maybe I’m a manual person and I might have liked to be making things. Maybe I’ll cash in my droits à la formation and retrain eg as a carpenter when I retire.
Possibly I shouldn’t have gone to university at all.


I couldn’t agree more.

We’ve gone off the point of my comment, which was to object to the implication that only the “brightest & best” go to university.

The mantra “education, education, education” is a good one. That doesn’t have to be the academic path of “higher” education. Proper vocational training, apprenticeships, etc. should be open to all, maybe even obligatory is some form or another.

Sadly having an undereducated population seems to favour a certain kind of politician.


Exactly - the extreme right disparage education for precisely this reason - they don’t want people to question traditional authority in the form of ruling classes, religious traditions, etc.

But it goes further, right into the Gradgrind view that facts are good (eg, STEM) but humanities bad - and even further within this, down to the particular Tory terror of subjects like ‘media studies’ - because the last thing they want is lots of clever people - especially from the working class - that can actually understand and expose the preservation of wealth and privilege through propaganda.

The pretence, of course, is that STEM subjects contribute more to the economy - a view that makes absolutely no sense in the UK, where arts and media are probably the most economically important industries (other than finance, which is a bubble).


That’s just daft! I love a good panto. I even love a bad panto, where a whole village gets involved and even the little kids have a go - and it sometimes goes all Widow T-wanky. I worked in proper theatre for a fair few years and remember the (gay) ‘Widow’ scrawling on the PS wall, “A-lad-in time saves 9!” :rofl:

For the non-theatrical, that’s the Prompt Side wall (i.e. stage left/audience right).

Prompt Side is always stage left, even if there is a “bastard prompt”, which is when the prompter is on stage right (or OP = Opposite Prompt).


Speaking from experience, go for it :+1: