Adam Caller agrees with government plans to deny university loans to students who fail GCSE maths and English

OXFORD, England, March 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In a controversial speech last week, Minister of Higher and Higher Education, Michelle Donelan, outlined the Department for Education’s proposals to introduce minimum eligibility requirements as well as student enrollment controls for prospective university students. As part of these plans, it has been revealed that pupils who fail to achieve at least a Year 4 grade in maths and GCSE English, or who fail to achieve at least two E grades at A level, could be prevented from taking out university student loans.

Critics of the proposals argue that these measures may present a barrier to entry for students unable to fund tuition themselves and disadvantage those with learning difficulties. However, ministers defended their plans saying the proposal aims to ensure that “low-quality, low-cost courses that lead to poor student outcomes have no incentive to grow out of control.

Grade inflation

To put current university admissions statistics into perspective, in the 1970s and 1980s between 8% and 19% of young British people attended university after the age of 18: around one in seven of the cohort 18-21 year olds. There were 38 universities in the country. Today, more than 50% of young people attend university after 18, and universities now number more than 150.

GCSE grades show a similar upward trend. Last year the number of students achieving the highest mark in all GCSEs was 3,606, a figure which has more than quadrupled since before the pandemic. In August 2021this statistic led a government minister to announce that the introduction of a 10th grade could even be seen as recognition of outstanding performance.

Adam Caller is an independent educational consultant and former teacher. He founded Tutors International in 1999 – a global leader in one-to-one tutoring and a company that seeks to provide one-to-one, personalized one-on-one tuition to a clientele of affluent families. Caller enthusiastically supports the government’s intentions: “The statistics are a good example of this,” he argues. “Young people aren’t getting smarter and teachers aren’t getting better at their jobs, but the pass rate at GCSEs and A-levels continues to proliferate year after year. The grading scale no longer makes sense” , he says. “Grade inflation has led to the devaluation of the quality of UK degrees and the collapse of academic standards. Because so many people are now graduating, what we are seeing is that more and more “Students need to pursue their studies towards a master’s or doctorate in order to stand out from the crowd. That means more years in college and more debt.

The fall of university standards

Caller, who bases his opinions on his experience as an employer of the best tutors in the world, is convinced that the university route is not for everyone: “If it is a decision by the government to help restore the balance , so I don’t think they’re going far enough,” he insists. Caller believes that admissions requirements need to be raised in order for a college degree to regain its reputation for guaranteeing the caliber academically of a graduate, he says: “In my role as an employer of the best private tutors, I am appalled at the number of applicants who are simply unable to write good English. I have received applications from Oxford and Cambridge graduates, with master’s degrees, who couldn’t write a coherent, complete sentence.”

“Standards at college have dropped so much that a graduate’s qualifications don’t count for anything,” Caller adds. “People may well be angry at the suggestion that university entry should be barred to those who fail maths and English at the GCSE, but if not how are we going to raise standards? There are too many semi-illiterate people at university and there has to be a cut-off point.”

Balance between academic and technical education needed

A key point communicated in the government announcement was that higher education needed: “…. a better balance between academic and technical training“, add: “…we are currently too oriented towards degrees above allThe caller agrees: “It should be possible for every student to be able to follow a path that reflects their strengths. If you have the aptitude and desire to go to college, that should be your goal. However, many other opportunities need to be made available in the form of on-the-job training and apprenticeships for those wishing to pursue vocational training or a trade.”

Low quality and low value degrees

Caller is one of many educators who believe students are getting into debt by enrolling in courses that won’t help them find gainful employment once qualified. “Imposing minimum grades for college entrance will help crack down on shoddy degree courses. Let’s face it, how many more people do we need with fashion journalism degrees!?”,s he asks. The caller points to research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies which shows that degrees in creative arts, for example, are likely to cost the UK taxpayer 30% more than an engineering degree, due to the fact that low-income or unemployed arts graduates are less likely to repay their student loans. “We need undergraduate degrees to have credibility and to have value,” he argues. “At the moment, they are hardly worth the paper they are written on. Raising university entrance requirements is only the first step to achieving this.”

Are you considering college? Tutors International can help

According to Caller, there has been a significant increase in requests for private lessons from families over the past two weeks. “With the end of Covid-19 restrictions, families are starting to return to the lifestyles they had before the pandemic; parents are now increasingly confident that they will resume traveling with their families,” reports- he. “Added to this is the realization that some students have been deprived of education by the interruption of their schooling and parents are seeking to remedy this,” adds Caller. He urges all parents who wish to address their child’s educational deficits to consider a period of intensive tutoring ahead of GCSE or A-level exams this summer and contact us as soon as possible.

About Tutors International

Tutors International provides an unparalleled private tutoring service that matches the right private home tutor with the right child, so that the student can fully achieve their personal potential and academic excellence. Providing an international tutoring service for children of all ages at different stages of their educational journey, Tutors International is founded on a commitment to finding the perfect tutor to achieve each student’s specific goals and aspirations. Tutors are available for full-time residential positions, after-school support, and home schooling.

Founded in 1999 by Adam CallerTutors International is a private company based in Oxford, a city renowned for its academic excellence. Our selected customers receive a personalized service, with guaranteed discretion and confidentiality.

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