Skip to main content

Tuition fees

As the government votes tomorrow on the new tuition fees regime, I find myself coming round to the view that the policy may be a good one. The essential question is: who should pay for university education? The government from general taxation, or former students in the form of a graduate tax or a repayment scheme? As a left-leaning person I have always liked the idea of the taxpayer contributing to services which are for the public good. But I also like the notion of progressive taxation since it compensates for awful inequalities in salaries.

The government's scheme is, in effect, a very progressive form of graduate taxation/repayment. The more you earn, the more you pay. If you don't earn much at all, then you pay nothing. Non-graduates, who tend to earn less, pay relatively little.

Will the thought of a huge debt put some young people off higher education? We cannot be sure, though it seems that when fees were first introduced they did not stop the number of applications rising.  Maybe the thought of a postgraduate debt could be a test of a student's real motivation. I suspect most will make that rational judgment that a degree will often lead to a higher income, or that if they do not get a reasonably paid job then they won't pay anyway.

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=413790

What I haven't yet grasped is how the scheme will help to reduce the government deficit, since the money will only start to be recouped in four years. I also wonder what will happen to graduates who go and work overseas. Will they pay back their fees? I also wonder how difficult and costly it will be to chase up the enormous number of graduates as their careers progress.

In the meantime, there is the far less reported issue of the government's overall funding for universities which is set to fall considerably. The government plans to only fund STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). Universities will have to fund other subjects themselves. I'm not quite sure how this will affect students' subject choices. Is the idea that creating more places in STEM subjects and fewer places in non-STEM subjects will force students to opt for maths, science and engineering? I am not sure this would work and in any case I would rather see students being able to choose subjects they are interested in, rather than ones the government think are strategically important. Education for education's sake.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

Three AQA A-level courses compared

I've put together my three reviews of worthy A-level courses which you might be considering for next September. They are all very useful courses, but with significant differences. The traditional Hodder and OUP book-based courses differ in that the former comes in one chunky two year book, whilst OUP's comes in two parts, the first for AS or the first year of an A-level course. The Attitudes16 course by Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri is based on an online platform from which you would download worksheets and share a logon with studenst who would do the interactive parts (Textivate and video work). The two text books are supported by interactive material (Kerboodle) or an e-text book.

Attitudes16





An excellent resource which should be competing for your attention at the moment is the Attitudes16 course which writers Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri have been working on for some time. You can find it here at dolanguages.com, along with his excellent resources for film and li…

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’(http://pdcinmfl.com). The point i…