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the UK is stupid to encourage 40,000 to got to uni and write Media studies essays?

(62 Posts)
Marchbirthday Sun 24-Aug-08 14:20:54

My eldest DS has told me that 40,000 students each year are taking Media Studies courses. He signed up for a very practical hands on course which we hope will enable him to fix stuff, wire stuff, film stuff, record sound, understand cabling and editing. He's done very well on the practical stuff but will get the lowest mark because his essay writing skills are poor. He doesn't want to be a film critic, or writer. There aren't 40,000 jobs in the media industry, and don't we need practical technical people not more writers?

HeadFairy Sun 24-Aug-08 14:23:13

As someone who's worked in telly for 15 years I'd say they were pretty useless too (media degrees) I didn't have one, did have a degree though, but I still had to start as a runner right at the bottom rung and work up. A media degree is no way to bypass that. You might as well do a degree in something interesting like History and be prepared to earn crap money for a while (or forever if you work at the BBC )

PootyApplewater Sun 24-Aug-08 14:25:13

But the course you describe isn't just training people to become writers, is it?
They have learnt all the practical things you mention too.

Could you speak to the college re some help for your son to improve his essay writing skills?

Tittybangbang Sun 24-Aug-08 14:29:54

If your son can't structure a report, summarise succinctly and express complex ideas in writing it WILL hold him back in his career. Why doens't he get some extra tutoring?

Backgammon Sun 24-Aug-08 14:31:46

Why do you care what someone else studies at University?

HeadFairy Sun 24-Aug-08 14:32:51

Oh and to clarify, I'm not a journalist, I'm an editor (film editor that is) and you don't need to write essays in editing. Having said that, the BBC don't usually look at cvs unless the applicant has a degree or equivalent, as tittybangbang says, it's proof of your ability to discipline and organise your thoughts.

Marchbirthday Sun 24-Aug-08 14:59:31

Clearly will have to think about the tutoring, and yes the course he is on does cover a lot of the practical stuff unlike some of the Media courses I am familiar with.

I do care about the training of young people in the UK, as I see the results of failing to train or offer direction to young people in the UK. Instead of concentrating on the percentages of A*s the UK needs to look hard at apprenticeships. In my opinion many children who are designated low academic achievers give up, drop out, get depressed, join gangs, turn to crime etc, etc, directly as a result of the Non-existent routes for practical people in the UK. Ask any professional who has attempted to help a young person get an apprenticeship as an electrician or motor engineering and I think you will find they agree?

Backgammon Sun 24-Aug-08 15:01:40

Don't understand your last post. Are you saying people who do media studies are low academic achievers?

HeadFairy Sun 24-Aug-08 15:02:20

I agree 100% marchbirthday. Why do we see it as something shameful to have a skill? We need plumbers and builders as much (if not more) than we need lawyers and accountants, and definitely more than we need tv presenters and producers! That's why we get Polish people to do all the skilled trade here, because no one sees it as a job worth having.

Marchbirthday Sun 24-Aug-08 15:17:36

To Backgammon, No I'm not generalizing, probably just like you I know people with 3 A*s who have opted for the media studies degree choice.

I am worried that there does not appear to be any common sense amongst our academic educational leaders. As well as plumbers and electricians the UK needs Nurses, scientists, environmentalists and social workers, but our education system makes the studying of science unattractive. If I could change the courses tomorrow - I would not allow any straight Media or Art courses. Everyone should learn how to run a small business - compulsory. They would have to choose. Media and Business Studies, or Media with environmental studies, Media and social studies. Right now the UK has to turn to South Africa and Australia for Social Workers, Eastern Europe for plumbers, and just anywhere at all for nurses. Many British youngsters should be opting for science to work on the development of products to lessen global warming not writing about the genre of Mission Impossible or The Simpsons. But then it's just my opinion, and that's what's good about MN I get to give my opinion!

ollyop Sun 24-Aug-08 15:19:52

I agree too. I have a deep thinking ds1 about to start a film/philosophy degree.

Ds2, three years younger, is supremely practical, isn't interested in higher education, and wants a practcal apprenticeship.

Unfortunately it won't be anywhere near as easy for ds2 to get started as it was for ds1 to secure his uni place.

Backgammon Sun 24-Aug-08 15:22:45

I'm totally lost.

I would have hated being forced to learn how to run a small business when I was a student, would have been totally useless at it too.

Agree with your point though that the govt should do more to encourage young people into useful trades/professions.

SqueakyPop Sun 24-Aug-08 15:44:43

It's always better to do a traditional academic degree. Employers see through media studies.

Shoegazer Sun 24-Aug-08 19:11:55

I'm not sure I understand your point. Are you basically saying that young people should not be encouraged to "navel gaze" but should be getting off their arses and doing something practical? Doing it for their country? Why should all young people be taught to run a small business? What do you have against media studies in particular? You say it has no use, but lots of graduates don't work directly using the degree subject they gained. If I follow your argument logically you would be also discouraging many of the arts subject such as philosophy, history of art, english literature because none of those are "practical" as such. I can't see there being many job in the philosophy industry either, but I think you are missing the point of the wider skills gained by doing a degree.

expatinscotland Sun 24-Aug-08 19:19:08

I sure wish someone had pushed me to do something practical rather than 'for the love of learning'. The love of learning doesn't pay rent for most.

I worked in a music department and saw more and more of our graduates joining the ranks of the call centres and shop workers, but with a very healthy debt.

I have no idea why anyone in his/her right mind would get into loads of debt for a degree that isn't a surefire way to garner a greater income than if they hadn't gone at all.

I'll definitely be pushing my children to do something that's going to pay the bills comfortably, and hopefully they'll see and use me as an example.

It is 100% lame to be skint in your 40s.

Backgammon Sun 24-Aug-08 19:44:01

As shoegazer says, a lot of the skills you learn at University are transferable - you don't necessarily go directly into that line of work.

I did an arts degree in sociology which had a strong element of research to it. My job now involves running research projects in the civil service. It's a job which more than pays the bills and I wouldn't have got it without my degree.

WilfSell Sun 24-Aug-08 19:48:22

The best degree of all is the one that you are interested enough in to do well in. the media studies student who gets a first with a portfolio of excellent written and practical work who realises that to get the job they want they need to do all kinds of student journalism and work experience, is much better than the media studies student who sits on their arse or is bored and underachieving because they hate it.

But that's pretty much true of any degree: stupid, unmotivated and lazy engineering or medical graduates just don't walk into jobs either...

PuppyMonkey Sun 24-Aug-08 19:58:32

I did Media Studies/Communication Studies degree over 20 years ago when it wasn't a very common course at all. There were only four or five places that did it. I chose the subject because I am very interested in the Media and wanted a career in it. Luckily it worked out too.

We didn't just sit round watching Tv and films (although we did it bit I admit). But we also had to do psychology, sociology, history, bit of Freud, lots of practical stuff (which has stood me in good stead for being quite a practical person gadgetwise etc). In other words, like most degrees in those days, IT WAS BLOODY HARD WORK, THANKS!

ps. I didn't want to be a plumber. Really sorry.

Elkat Sun 24-Aug-08 22:01:50

Sorry Mrach birthday but I just don't get your posts at all. You say that you would make it compulsory for "Everyone should learn how to run a small business - compulsory" but please do tell me why a nurse or doctor or teacher or physicist need to know anything about running a small buisness? Isn't that just a waste of public funding? It would be of absolutely zero relevance to my degree and my career. The most ironic thing about this notion is that business studies is largely regarded to be a 'less academic' subject anyway (Trinity college rate it in their list B 'of limited suitability')

Further, I think you miss a large part of the point about essay writing. one benefit of essay writing (particularly in a degree) is that you are able to research a subject, organise your thoughts in a coherent manner and are able to express yourself clearly and coherently. Surely that is a valuable skill in many professions. You might not be writing essays, but there are still reports, evaluations, and other types of official documentation etc etc...

RustyBear Sun 24-Aug-08 22:13:30

Actually I think your DS has got his figures wrong - the total number of students accepted onto full time undergraduate courses last year was 411,971, and I really doubt that 10% of them are doing Media Studies. Even if you add part time courses, I doubt it's anything like 40,000 a year.

Judy1234 Sun 24-Aug-08 22:17:22

I've three children at university stage so there's been a lot of talk about these issues in this house over the last 5 years.

If people want very good jobs in good media companies then they will do best if they have a good degree ideally from Oxbridge or a good Red brick with good A levels. If they want a technical post mending cameras used in a studio etc then presumably they go via a different career route.

I don't see what's wrong with study for study's sake in a subject you enjoy and may not use in later life as long as you go into it with your eyes open and know the consequences of your actions which is the most important thing I want for the 5 children - that they know taking X choice leads to Y (poverty in your 40s or middle ranking earnings or well paid) etc and then they make their choices.

Onestonetogo Sun 24-Aug-08 22:28:07

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Onestonetogo Sun 24-Aug-08 22:29:48

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southeastastra Sun 24-Aug-08 22:30:40

my family have always worked in this media, the good will get through

WilfSell Sun 24-Aug-08 22:31:28

Doubtless people said the same about physics in the 16th Century grin

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