There is no shadow of doubt that university education, as my generation knew it, has been turned upside down for several reasons. There seems to be a universal expectation that a university education is the right of every citizen. The effect of this is that more and more universities were built or converted from being technical colleges to accommodate this increase. To sustain these extra colleges they had to reduce the quality of the acceptance standards to keep up the level of the student population for funding reasons. High-quality teachers, again of my generation, complained bitterly that standards were dropping and nobody paid any attention, and it took the credit crunch to bring it home. Now the government is being forced, through financial stringencies both for the universities and the students, to go back to the old system of forming technical colleges, albeit on a hand to mouth basis. The question I asked when I saw these students being trained as brickies, was whether anybody had done an analysis of how many bricklayers the building industry, including those laid off, in its current downturn, would be required on a year by year basis in the future, or are we just training from the sake of training, rather than have these youngsters doing nothing? It’s all money, our money, and panic measures are currently prevalent.
Again, when I was young, shop-girls in haberdashery departments of some of the bigger high street stores, developed what they thought of as an upper-class accent, which in fact was taken off by comedians on radio. In the 60s we had the social revolution, which applauded the maintenance of regional accents. In those early years before the 60s, regional accents were not totally removed, merely honed a little at school by teachers with university accents, or by the imitation of them. The refined regional accent is a pleasure to listen to and more importantly, easy to understand by people with an entirely different background. I am convinced that I am not alone in finding reporters on television and radio, at times impossible to translate, or am I again showing my partiality for my own outmoded upbringing?
I think it’s fair to say that because my mobility is reduced I tend to watch television more than the average person, so therefore I would be more subjected to realising the number of repeats, and the paucity of quality that is now being offered repeatedly, not just occasionally by Skye. The quality and popularity of a television product is the way in which it becomes part of the viewing panorama, and so when a film dated anything from 1945 is offered, it is reasonable to question why the title had never previously been heard of in the passing nearly 65 years, and why it was suddenly being offered now? The answer is obvious of course, economy, but I notice that my bill is not being dumbed down, but raised.