Archive for the Education Category

Crisis could be a chance to change education for the better

Crisis could be a chance to change education for the better

In the mid-19th century, Japan was an impoverished feudal backwater.  A fleet of American warships totally humiliated their navy, and compelled Japan to sign a highly disadvantageous treaty. Within a matter of just a few years, the Japanese completely transformed their system of government and industrialised very rapidly.

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The ‘graduate premium’ is little more than a myth — invest in further education instead

The ‘graduate premium’ is little more than a myth — invest in further education instead

Universities and their students are seldom out of the news. Ever since Tony Blair pledged to send 50 per cent of 18–21 year olds to university, they have been a persistent topic in political economy. University towns now notoriously favour Labour at the ballot box, often an

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The left’s support for university students is fuelled by political self-interest

The left’s support for university students is fuelled by political self-interest

Why do left-wing politicians want to shower money on privileged members of society? In general, university students have a higher intellectual ability than non-students, and often come from more desirable socio-economic backgrounds. But leftists can’t do enough for them. For instance, Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 promised to

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Why we should allow second-rate universities to go bankrupt

Why we should allow second-rate universities to go bankrupt

The political spotlight remains focused on Brexit, but an important dogfight is developing in the area of higher education. The specific issue is whether universities in the UK should be allowed to go bankrupt. It is not merely a theoretical question. In the past year, a number

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The misguided sugar tax is an ineffectual way to price the externalities of obesity

The misguided sugar tax is an ineffectual way to price the externalities of obesity

One of George Osborne’s last acts as chancellor in 2016 was to announce the so-called sugar tax. This came into force last week, in line with the original timetable. Drinks manufacturers are taxed according to the volume of sugar-sweetened beverages they produce or import. The tax increases

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The university pensions strike is a selfish bid to hold future generations to ransom

The university pensions strike is a selfish bid to hold future generations to ransom

University lecturers began a strike over their pensions last week. The dispute may even run on and jeopardise the summer exams. The main issue is that the universities’ pension scheme seems to be in substantial deficit. To solve the problem, a move from defined benefits to defined

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Old-fashioned educational values offer the UK’s most deprived children a future

Old-fashioned educational values offer the UK’s most deprived children a future

Economics is the gloomy science, but we can end the year on a cheery note. Newham Collegiate Sixth Form College is in one of the most deprived and ethnically mixed areas of the country, with high numbers of immigrants. Yet the example set by Mouhssin Ismail, the

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Anti-capitalists in UK universities need a refresher course in the perils of socialism

Anti-capitalists in UK universities need a refresher course in the perils of socialism

The great Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter, writing in the 1940s, predicted the eventual demise of capitalism. He did not want this to happen. But he envisaged that the “intellectual class” would eventually develop values which were hostile to free markets and private property. Schumpeter’s definition of “intellectuals”

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Incentivise predatory universities with a proportional grade-linked fee structure

Incentivise predatory universities with a proportional grade-linked fee structure

The A-level results have come and gone yet again. Underneath all the hype and excitement, we can see the reliable old friend of economists at work. Namely, the impact of incentives. Michael Gove, in his previous Cabinet incarnation as education secretary, decided to restore the meaning of

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Embarrassing academic reversals show expert opinions are often built on sand

Embarrassing academic reversals show expert opinions are often built on sand

Last week we saw yet another major reversal of opinion by experts. For years we have all been lectured severely on the need to finish every single course of prescription drugs. But the latest wisdom is that this is not necessary. The announcement that petrol and diesel

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