By Matt Tomlin
A Universities UK survey of 2,000 people has recently highlighted that less than half of the British public, 48% to be exact, felt ‘positive’ about the state of universities. 9% were outright ‘negative’ in their feelings towards universities and 13% were uncertain of their opinion and answered ‘don’t know’ in the poll. 31% were neutral about the state of British universities.
Despite the consensus being of a lack of enthusiasm for higher education’s role in society, two thirds of respondents claimed they would encourage their children to go to university. However, 61% of respondents also believed the only justification for getting a degree would be if it offered graduates good job prospects. In answer to a separate question, 58% were of the opinion that the current teaching in universities did not prepare students properly for tasks in the workplace. In addition, 46% saw the expenses of university life as making university courses not worth doing.
As an overall contribution to modern British society, people rated universities highly with 70% responded that British universities were some of the best in the world. However, there are doubts about the justification of this view as many polled did not go into much detail about research universities have done to better society. Oxford and Cambridge were the universities talked about the most by those who did go into this level of detail.
These statistics come following many issues experienced in the higher education sector in recent weeks. Many British universities are struggling financially and the National Union of Students (NUS) has also been reported to be near bankruptcy.