The UK government's plans to force universities to limit the number of students taking “low-value” degrees in England that fail to deliver good outcomes has caused a stir among the academic community. Courses with low numbers of graduates securing a professional job, moving forward on to postgraduate courses, or starting a business will be subject to strict controls, according to new rules set by the UK government.
With the policy restricting domestic student applications in the UK, experts argue the new plans will also make it harder for Indian students to pursue their aspirations.
“This won’t affect students going to reputed and top class universities. However, for students who are going for diplomas or to low ranked or unknown universities, they will face issues with admissions and greater difficulty in obtaining a student visa,” said Karan Gupta, founder of study abroad career consultant Karan Gupta Consulting.
The UK government wants to make sure that universities and colleges are offering the same standard of high-quality provision expected in our schools, and that young people are encouraged to choose the path that is right for them – whether it’s a university degree, a higher technical qualification, or an apprenticeship.
Dhaval Meheta, CEO of TNI Career Counseling says, “It seems more like a warning. Universities will start looking closely at courses that don’t deliver on placements or manipulate data as the government seems focused on solving the employment crisis in general as many universities have been marketing their courses to international students largely for masters programs that promise them jobs which aren’t really available in the UK.”
“Due to COVID the last 3 years data is skewed anyways. Students should be careful in the upcoming years to pick courses based on historical data of the course performance for 2023 and 2024,” added Dhaval.
The problem, according to Aaryan Chatterjee, an Indian student now enrolled in the University of Surrey's Bachelor of Music programme, is the debt, not the classes. “Universities have transformed into money-making machines that burden students with debt and manipulative employment statistics,” says the student.
“Who is defining a low value degree and based on what criteria? Learning music is literally the only thing I have a passion for and for me getting a degree isn’t only about career earning. It’s about learning, following one’s passion, broadening horizons and exploring. Those have value too,” stated Aaryan.