Kitplus - The TV-BAY Magazine

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EDUCATION The Business of University: Or lack thereof. by Ashley Golder U niversity. Finally a time of critical thinking, training for your future career and coming out with enough knowledge to confidently acquire a job… or rather that is the plan. But what if that doesn’t happen? When the £9,000 a year tuition fee, plus the expense of living costs rear their ugly heads and the invoice is sent in the post asking for loan repayment, do you think: was it really worth the money? Universities are a business and the core to every business is to make money. Profi tably. Universities are no different. A simple example is how a staggering nine out of ten universities have opted to charge the highest tuition rate of £9,000, according to Times Higher Education. The option to charge less is there, but why would they when they can charge the most? Universities are rarely held accountable for their failings. This has to change. I am not alone in these views. Complaints from students against universities to the Offi ce of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) have been rising rapidly over the years to a tipping point in 2012, coincidentally receiving 2,012 complaints. In order to make a complaint to the OIA, you fi rst have to exhaust the means within the university institution which therefore makes these fi gures more potent as these should be seen as a students last resort. More and more students are increasingly becoming disappointed in their universities. At this point I would like to affi rm this is not an article from a graduate who did not do well and therefore would like to blame the academic instituition for my failure. Without reason of grandeur but certifi cation, I graduated with First Class Honours, achieved some great milestones including producing and directing two short documentaries and in my second year, took on the role of consultant producer for IBC Rising Stars, a job I continued after I graduated. As a customer, dissatisfi ed with the product, you would take it back for a refund or exchange – an annoyance but ultimately satisfi ed and not much is lost. Now let’s take away the façade of the shop and use this analogy for university. Only, in order to know if the product works, you have to give up three years of your life, a vast amount of money and unless you’re planning on a life of education – you may only get one shot at this. There are no refunds for university. You cannot get your time back, you very rarely can get your money back and besides, how do you measure dissatisfaction with your education? “Hi Mr University, I’ve only received 60% of knowledge, please may I get 40% of my fees and time back?” It just doesn’t work. So you really only get the one chance to make your life the way you want it. “I chose to drop out of my uni course because there was very little content and I was being taught very basic things … My head lecturer never had anything to say when I asked him for feedback. If I could claim the money back, I would.” Nicki - Runner Unfortunately, it appears universities may not think this way. In my three year TV Production degree, I oddly enough spent a lot of my time trying to learn, although I should emphasise trying. It is no secret that competition for jobs after you graduate are higher than ever, so the best way to get ahead is to do more, learn more and achieve more. Grab experiences, fi nd opportunities and make the most of what’s there at your feet. I then started getting frustrated Number of complaints received per year: I did well at uni and I am proud of this fact. Despite this, my university could and should have been better, and on no account bar a select few, do I feel I owe my successes to this institution. I believe on the whole that they, along with many other universities, are failing their students. So, let’s replace the university building with a (very large) shop. You are a customer who walks into the shop, buys something and walks out again. The product you buy works OK, but not as advertised. Perhaps the battery doesn’t last as long as it should, the colour is different to what the packaging suggests or there’s a part missing. 44 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 97 JANUARY 2015 Source: www.oiahe.org.uk/media/88650/oia-annual-report-2012.pdf