Day 132

I don’t have a degree. Most of my contemporaries do, and I have always felt disadvantaged by the lack. There are several ways this blog post could now go, including a discussion of my troubled youth, ramblings about my wasted life or my thoughts on our educational system. I could even have a rant about how poetry seems riddled with people who want to list their academic credentials when discussing poetry. I read an article last night that spent a lot of time telling me about the author’s educational qualifications and am feeling in the mood for a rant.

But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you about a business idea I had, and how the government ensured it was stillborn. And how your cat can get a degree . . .

When I was 29, I decided to make a determined effort to improve myself and show ambition. It wasn’t, to be honest, the natural me and it didn’t last. However, I did manage to talk my way onto a post-graduate course (a Diploma in Management Studies) and I did manage to finish it.

Whilst I was on the course I learnt several things. One was that British Universities, whilst insisting that I had proper qualifications, were not quite so strict with overseas students. Overseas students didn’t even need a particularly good command of English – just the necessary funding to pay through the nose.

The second thing was that there were such things as fraudulent  business colleges which provided spurious qualifications, and that people seemed to think they were worth buying.

A couple of months after finishing the course I was just in the process of setting up the Carlton Business School when the government stepped in and banned this sort of thing with the Education Reform Act (1988) – I still wake up dreaming about it.

I did a bit of research last night and it seems I should have been more persistent. Thirty five years later I see that 85 fake universities were closed down in the last five years, so maybe I should have carried on.

I’ve never had such a good idea since. Meanwhile the “real” Universities carried on taking money from overseas students who paid a lot of money but didn’t gain much from their studies due to an inadequate grasp of English.

The moral, never give up and remember that posh people, and Universities, are above the law.

Look at what I could have done if I’d just been a bit more persistent. I particularly like this one.


19 thoughts on “Day 132

  1. Theperfectcurry

    Loved this article. I worked hard to earn my degrees and postgraduate degrees. Then I decided to stay home to raise kids. I was happy to pursue education. I was a really happy achievement in my career before kids. I think I am fortunate. Now I am enjoying life as a full time mom and cooking delicious food for them. Earning a degree in itself has no value if someone doesn’t train themselves to strict disciplines, and work ethic, determination in the process. Then you see it’s just one way to success. Not the only way. If you love what you do and are willing to work hard, degrees really don’t matter. It is an unfortunate world that is so hung up on “earned qualifications”. When I went to an interview, after being home with kids for some time, I was asked a lot of questions and deemed not qualified enough for an entry level sales rep position because of my “career gap’. I decided to write my blog a bend stay with my kids little longer. It’s been a good call. ☺️

  2. Pingback: Day 133 | quercuscommunity

  3. tootlepedal

    I wish that I could swap my feeble degree for a well developed skill in making things. Still, I did have a most enjoyable time being a student, even if I didn’t learn anything.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Domestic students, who can understand the course, have a choice of working or learning, or even both. Julia did a part-time Masters some years ago (having only been to a common English University – if she’d gone to Oxford or Cambridge she could have sent them a cheque a few years after graduating and got an MA without the hassle of actually working for it). Part way through the course a group of Chinese students was dropped into the course, having been removed from their previous course because they couldn’t understand the teaching. They were removed from Julia’s course after disrupting it, because their English was just not good enough for them to do the course. Not their fault – they were all pleasant people who were happy to work hard, they were just victims of a rapacious educational establishment who saw their money rather than their personal needs.

  4. derrickjknight

    When the Social Work training course under which I qualified became post-graduate, neither I, who by then was running a weekly group-work session, nor Wolf, the tutor in charge could have been accepted, because we didn’t have degrees.

      1. quercuscommunity Post author

        Yes. I suppose it makes it easier to tick boxes if people have a degree – much simpler than interviewing and assessing their skills.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      That’s a good question, and shows a keen grasp of the realities of the situation. I’m offering Batchelor’s Degrees In Media Studies for that price. Watch TV for three years and get back to me about the certificate.


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