Tuesday, February 16, 2016

UK: Study looked into earnings of people getting different classes of degrees

Graduates who get a good degree will earn more money than their peers for more than a decade, a new study has found.

It looked at a cohort born in 1970 and graduating in 1991, and found those with first of 2:1 degrees earned 7-9 per cent more five years after graduation.

The study, published by the London School of Economics, also found that the gap between earnings according to university performance is also widening as more people opt for a university education.

The academics wrote: 'As more young people obtain degrees, the premium for graduating with a good class of degree increases.'

Previous studies have shows the wage disparity between people who go to university and those without a degree, but not a link between earnings and the class of degree.

The authors - Robin Naylor and Jeremy Smith of the University of Warwick and Shqiponja Telhaj of the University of Sussex - claim this is surprising as previous studies have shown that employers filter out applications from people with lower class degrees.

Mr Telhaj said: 'We obtain an estimate of a wage premium of 7%-8% for a good degree (a first or upper second) relative to a lower degree (a lower second or third) at the ages of 30 and 38.

'We view the estimated premium to be large when we consider that our estimate of the premium for a lower degree relative to A-levels is 11% at age 30.'

However, it does also note that those who get a third-class degree could end up closing the gap because of grade inflation leading to universities issuing more higher class degrees. 


My family is proof that you don't need a degree to succeed

By Candida Crewe

A month ago I sat next to a vituperative snob at a dinner in London who was shocked when I said that some or all of my sons might not go to university.

Her horror was almost comical. Lots of spluttering and dark mutterings implying she was glad her children were in no danger of hanging out with mine. The best bit came when I went on to tell her that I myself had not gone to university: she nearly fell off her chair. The sport of it made my evening.

This Neanderthal woman probably had another seizure over her chia porridge last week when she read that Penguin no longer require job applicants to have degrees. All that tireless tiger mothering of her children has turned out to be for nothing, now the uneducated mass of humanity are on a level playing field.

There are many like myself, on the other hand, who feel that the enlightened publishing house is responding imaginatively and innovatively to modern thinking; that the sooner other employers follow suit the better and, in fact, those that don’t are living in the dark ages.

Ernst & Young, one of the UK’s biggest graduate recruiters, led the way last year, when it announced it was removing the degree classification from its entry criteria, saying there is "no evidence" success at university correlates with achievement in later life.

Little wonder Clarissa Farr, high mistress of St. Paul’s Girls’ School - considered to be one of the most successful in the country - declared it is becoming increasingly common for even the brightest of her pupils to choose not to enter higher education; a move that could prove "a more exciting and faster route to the top".

Certainly, there is a feeling in the water that degrees, by their very debt-generating ubiquity, have been devalued, and the smartest kids may, in fact, be those stealing a march on their peers and entering the job market straight out of school.

My oldest son, Erskine, 17, may be one of them. He is about to do his A-levels and though his father and I feel strongly he doesn’t have to go on to higher education, at a cost of £23 to keep his options open, it made sense to apply.

When he filled in his UCAS form, he was able to answer ‘No’ to the question as to whether or not his parents had degrees. I felt rather pleased he might gain a couple of brownie points for that, even if in the end he decides not to go, or doesn’t get the requisite three As to read his chosen subject - English - at Manchester, Leeds or Exeter.

If he doesn’t, he will be following in firm family tradition - though we highly value university education, most of us have trodden our own paths, unburdened by academic expectation.

My mother, a successful novelist, was desperate to go to university but her mother refused to allow her to try, insisting instead that she became a debutante, which she hated. My late father, a restaurant critic and travel writer, was chucked out of Cambridge for being both mischievous and preposterously lazy. Their careers, love and social lives did not suffer (though my mother never quite forgave my grandmother).

Similarly, my three sons’ father left school at 15 with nine Us at O-level but educated himself, made a career out of his passion and became a leading light in his field.

I didn’t go to university myself because I suffered depression in the sixth form, did pathetically badly in my A-levels and failed to get into Oxford - or anywhere else. My step-father, a don for 40 years, encouraged me to try again and my arrogant, cowardly, short-sighted response was, "Fail once and that could be an anomaly; fail a second time and I am stupid. I am not prepared to risk it."

But failure, often a great inspiration, prompted me to think, "Right, I’ll show ‘em". I scored a job in a bookshop and began writing a novel in the early mornings, the evenings and at weekends.

I secured a book contract with Collins and, with the chutzpah of ignorance, rang the editor of the Evening Standard, asked for a meeting and landed a weekly column.

The novelty of my youth rather than any talent (the book, in particular, was rubbish) had much to do with my good fortune. I am not sure I would have been so lucky three years later - so while I recognise I lost a lot by not going to university, I can see I also gained a great deal. Horses for courses, as the cliché goes.

Now degrees cost even more, handicapping graduates with debt to the tune of tens of thousands, yet (with the exception of medicine and the like, though junior doctors may dispute me, even here) are increasingly worth less. A couple of clever friends of mine who met at Bristol both said that if they had had to pay £30,000 for their English and History degrees, they would not have gone; they had not been worth it.

I have plenty of friends who were at Oxbridge and other universities, and many who never went at all - there is no pattern of success or failure according to whichever qualifications, but a beauty in the randomness of how life turns out for everyone.

Most parents, understandably, err on the side of caution. The son of a friend with a passion for jewellery-making caused widespread disapproval and consternation when he left school just one term short of his A-levels. Most thought his parents had lost the plot, allowing him to do something so rash, but they butched out the naysayers and their faith in him paid off.

He landed a place on a prestigious gemmology course at Hatton Garden and, now 22, recently won the junior goldsmiths’ equivalent of an Oscar. He has been in work ever since.

Erskine, himself, remains undecided. He is one of the youngest in his year so even if he chooses to go to university, his father and I will probably advise him a year off to work (and travel, if he saves enough), and to mature, otherwise he may not get out of it everything that he could. Wall to wall parties, and a poor degree to show for it, would be an expensive way to spend three years.

Meanwhile, my middle son, 16 next month, has been computer-programming since the age of six. Nothing whatsoever to do with his parents: entirely self-taught, he is incredibly lucky to have discovered a passion so young and as such has put in Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours or more.

He is already applying for and being offered highly paid jobs ('til he points out the DOB on his CV), working with a team of senior research fellows at Oxford and frustrated that school is preventing him from his "real" work. For all its advantages, might university not further delay him on his chosen path?

No one, these days, will think the less of either of them for not going. Folk like Neanderthal Woman are thankfully rare and becoming rarer. In my 33 years as a non-graduate (and the 18 before that), I have almost never been made to feel inferior or stupid. Far from it.

And now I am enjoying a certain irony in my paid position as a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, working at Oxford University supporting extremely able and hard-working graduate students with their writing skills.

During my initial interview, when I told the my head of department, a professor and Fellow of All Soul’s, that I was completely uneducated and knew precisely nothing about his subject, he fell about laughing and said, "All the better!"

The world order is changing by the minute and our old-fashioned views about education have to evolve to keep up. More so than ever before, fulfilled and successful people appear from every possible direction and a degree, whilst still a jolly good show, seems an expensive way of marking time - a guarantee of nothing.


Australia: Activists push taxpayer-funded homosexual manual in schools

Eleven-year-old children are being taught about sexual orientation and transgender issues at school in a taxpayer-funded program written by gay activists.

The Safe Schools Coalition teaching manual says that asking parents if their baby is a boy or a girl reinforces a "heteronormative world view".

Religious groups yesterday criticised the "age-inappropriate" manual, which suggests that sexuality be raised in every subject area. "Whatever the subject, try to work out ways to integrate gender diversity and sexual diversity across your curriculum," the manual says.

The All of Us teaching manual, designed for Years 7 and 8, says that children often realise they are lesbian, gay or bisexual between the ages of 11 and 14, while the -average age for "coming out" is 16.

A lesson plan on "bisexual -experiences" requires students to imagine they live in a world "where having teeth is considered really unpleasant". Students take turns telling a classmate about their weekend, without showing their teeth.

"How did it feel to have to hide part of yourself?" the students are asked. "Do you think that some lesbian, gay or bisexual young people feel that they need to hide part of themselves? How might this make them feel?"

Children are shown short films about the personal stories of young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

In a lesson on same-sex attraction, students as young as 11 are told to imagine they are 16-year-olds who are "going out with someone they are really into". The class is divided into students pretending to be going out with someone of the same sex, and classmates pretending to like someone of the opposite sex.

The children have to answer 10 questions, including whether they could "easily talk to your parents about your sexuality", and to name four famous Australians of the same sexuality.

The teacher then instructs the children to stand, and slowly counts backwards from 10. Each child can sit down when the number called out by the teacher corresponds with the number of times they answered "yes" in the quiz - meaning that a student who answers "no" could be left standing in front of the class.

The Safe Schools manual -appears to reach beyond promoting tolerance, to advocating activism by students. It tells students to defy teachers who refuse to let them put up LGBTI posters.

"If you can, it's a good idea to get permission to put your posters up, so you avoid getting in -trouble," the manual says. "If your school or teachers say no, ask for reasons and see if they make sense. If they don't seem reasonable, you may have to be creative about where you place them."

Safe Schools also advises -students to "use your assignments to start conversations".

"For example, some students have chosen to do their English oral presentations on equal marriage rights or their music or art assignments on how artists express their sexuality, gender or intersex status through their work," it says.

The Safe Schools Coalition suggests that schools paint a rainbow crossing, provide unisex toilets and hand out stickers to supportive teachers.

The federal government has provided $8 million in funding for the program, which has won support from the Australian Secondary Principals Association, beyondblue, headspace and the Australian Education Union. The Victorian government will require all state schools to join the Safe Schools network by 2018, but the program is voluntary in other states and territories.

So far 490 primary and high schools nationally have signed up, although the list of 24 schools in Queensland is secret.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the Safe Schools program was an "opt-in" for schools and run at arm's length from government.

"Homophobia should be no more tolerated than racism, especially in the school environment," Senator Birmingham said. "The resource is intended to support the right of all students, staff and families to feel safe at school."

A La Trobe University study of more than 3000 same-sex-attracted young people in 2010 found that 75 per cent had experienced some form of homophobic bullying or abuse - with 80 per cent of those occurring at school.

Australian Christian Lobby spokeswoman Wendy Francis said the Safe Schools material pressured kids into accepting LGBTI concepts and "confuses them about their own identity".

She said forcing students to imagine themselves in a same-sex relationship was a "form of cultural bullying".

Ms Francis said the material was not age-appropriate, as 11-year-old children were too young to be taught about sexual orientation and transgender issues. "A lot of children are still pretty innocent about this stuff - these are adult concepts," she said.

Ms Francis agreed that bullying against LGBTI students "absolutely has to be stopped".

"Every child should be safe at school," she said.

Safe Schools Coalition national director Sally Richardson said students at safe and supportive schools did better academically and were less likely to suffer poor mental health. "Our resources are designed to provide teachers with tools to help them have conversations with students around inclusion and diversity in the community," Ms Richardson said. "We provide schools with practical ways to foster a positive school culture where students, staff and families of all sexualities and gender identities feel safe, included and valued."

Ms Richardson said all the Safe Schools materials - including the All of Us teaching guide - were used at the discretion of individual schools.

The principal of Scotch College in Adelaide, John Newton, said his students had "embraced" the Safe Schools message of support and tolerance. But he did not approve of the lesson plan that required children to imagine themselves in a same-sex relationship.  "That wouldn't be a method we'd use," Dr Newton said.

"It feels like a ham-fisted attempt to change a culture.

"Our children are well ahead of the issue and happy to talk about it - they seem to have a very mature approach."

Safe Schools is also used in Shenton College, an independent public school in Perth. "We strive to be a welcoming, progressive and inclusive public school," said principal Christopher Hill.

"We can't turn away from the fact that schools need to deal with these sorts of issues."

The Safe Schools guide cites statistics that 10 per cent of people are same-sex attracted, 1.7 per cent are intersex - born with both male and female features - and 4 per cent are transgender.


NOTE:  The statistics above are, as usual, greatly exaggerated. Research conducted by the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University in 2003, has shown that of the 20,000 people surveyed, about 1.2% of adults identify as homosexual (gay or lesbian).  Among men, 1.6% identify as homosexual, and among women, 0.8% identify as lesbian, while 1.4% of women and 0.9% of men identify as bisexual

1 comment:

Hina Khan said...

Ms Richardson said all the Safe Schools materials - including the All of Us teaching guide - were used at the discretion of individual schools.

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