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.