NUS UK defends students’ right to study what they choose following Conservative pledge to cut “low-value” degrees

The latest Conservative manifesto point pledges to cut degrees with high dropout rates, and low job progression and future earnings potential.

Commenting, Chloe Field, NUS Vice President Higher Education, said:

To suggest that 1 in 8 degrees are low quality and should be scrapped is an insult to the students who work hard in the midst of a cost of living crisis to study them. If the Conservatives win their only offer to young people seems to be conscription or course cuts.

“Education should be a matter of building social prosperity and solving issues the world is facing right now, not financial value. The idea of “low value” degrees, judged by future earning potential, is a poor metric because things like race, class, gender, and disability have a much more significant impact on people’s wages. Additionally, value cannot only be judged by how much one contributes to a capitalist economy, instead, value derives from supporting communities and improving people’s lives. Every degree that a student wants to do should be fully funded and accessible.

“However, we are glad that the Conservatives recognise the value of funding apprenticeships. These must be used to offer chances to those who would otherwise not be in higher education. The current apprenticeship system is unfit to do this; we hear time and time again that the £6.40 minimum wage for apprentices stops people from poorer backgrounds from being able to access apprenticeships. If the Conservatives want to encourage more people to undertake apprenticeships, they must raise the apprentice minimum wage to the Real Living Wage.”

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