Anorak News | Bums On Seats

Bums On Seats

by | 17th, August 2006

ROLL Up! Roll up! Roll up! What am I bid for a three-year course in Media studies at Thames Valley University? We’ll throw in a copy of TV Quick and a Noel Edmonds beard.

On second thoughts, this is not the best example. Media courses are rarely left unfilled and we have no desire to start a bidding war between parents keen to see their children learn how to programme a DVD recorder and be taught that newspapers are not necessarily bastions of truth.

Competition for places is not always so keen. (The Guardian says science courses are less popular – they’re harder.) And the Times reports that universities may have to offer inducements for students to enrol on certain courses.

Universities need to put bums on seats in order to maintain their government funding. The traditional inducement of being able to spend a few years drinking with long breaks for summer holidays might not be enough. Something more is needed.

And the paper foresees a “summer sale” with institutes of learning offering discounted fees to students. This may work, as might other incentives, like reducing the length of the course from three years to two weeks, offering guaranteed pass marks (or your money back) and giving away booze and recreational drugs.

But for now the discount idea is the frontrunner. And David Willetts, the Shadow Education Secretary, thinks it’s a decent proposition. He tells the Times: “Discounts would be one step towards the creation of a market in which different courses charge different amounts and that would lead to more choice.”

Although John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, is less than pleased. He thinks such a scheme is unfair on those students who have already accepted places. Says he: “It is introducing the Ryanair concept to university entrance.”

But with discount air travel the price of seats rise with each sale. This new scheme relies on the early arrivals – the mug punters – paying over the odds early on, leaving the savvy to hunt for bargains.

Indeed, if all students could be persuaded to wait until the very last moment to apply for a course, study could become free and the fees system swiftly abolished.

And if the scholars can view it as media project, it, and they, cannot fail…

Posted: 17th, August 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink