Is it worth the candle?

In that hopeful dawn of 1997, Tony Blair proclaimed his “education, education, education” mantra and set a target that half of all school leavers going to university. The elephant in the sitting room was always what sort of retained value was there in a degree once been awarded to 3% of the population but was now available to 50%. The evidence is that the new qualifications have not repaid the hopes or the tuition fees invested in them and half our graduates are now in jobs that do not require a degree. The extra money they were to earn has dropped to an annual £2,500 over a 40-year career and even that modest figure is swollen by Oxbridge hedge fund billionaires. The fact is that Switzerland sends only 15% of its youth off to get a degree – but it makes sure the others have apprenticeships with actual businesses and vocational training.

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