Comment on Conservative Policies : Conservative Universities and Skills Policy by David.

“But the proportion of young people going to university has scarcely changed in eight years. At the current rate, it would take Labour over a century to meet their 50% target.”

That’s not an accurate quote of Labour’s goals. The 50% figure is not just for young people attending University, it’s 50% in further education.

Not every young person would benefit from University, but most would benefit from training and/or further education.

That being said the Labour government has failed to achieve it’s 50% goal:


1999: Prime Minister Tony Blair announces a target of 50 per cent of 17 to 30-year-olds participating in higher education. “In today’s world there is no such thing as too clever. The more you know, the further you will go,” he said.

2001: A deadline of 2010 is set to achieve the 50 per cent widening participation target in the Labour Government’s election manifesto.

2002: The Public Accounts Committee raises concerns that the higher education target “lacks clarity”.

2008: Figures reveal that the participation rate among 17 to 30-year-olds has risen by just 0.6 per cent between 1999-2000 and 2006-07, from 39.2 per cent to 39.8 per cent.

2008: On 1 April, Ruth Thompson, the director-general for higher education, says that the Government will not hit the 2010 deadline, adding that “we never thought we would”.

2008: On 8 April, John Denham, the Universities Secretary, says that progress towards achieving 50 per cent participation in higher education among young people is a “measure of real, valuable and achievable aims”.

I understand Labour are moving away from the 50% in education goal and aiming for more in training: I’m assuming apprenticeships would have never fell under the 50% figure?

A good goal would be as many of our young people in education or training as possible as it improves Britain in the world economy where a well trained/educated workforce moves to where the work is.

I can say from personal experience trying to get a decent education under a Labour government is far easier than it was under the last Conservative government. It was a real struggle to survive when I went to University under the Conservatives, my eldest son started University this year and he’s not having half the troubles I had financially.

As a poor person wanting a University education I felt like the Conservatives didn’t want me to do well.


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