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Bristol Arch department
#11
Austin has a very valid point

Whats wrong with going back to the days when only 5% of the population went for a degree and it was actually worth something:face-stir:

I may add I do believe in education and higher education for its own sake and not as the main requirement for getting a job
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#12
It was my hope that my point was a little wider than that. Graduate and/or non-graduate, posts should be available to suitably experienced and/or qualified individuals without a reliance on academic qualifications and that we should expect the academic sector to give some thought to making their students aware of what career prospects were open to them post-graduation. I don't want the discipline restricted only to graduates but I do think we churn out far too many graduates without adequate consideration of what we expect them to do post-graduation.
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#13
I do think I understand what you are saying but why should a degree be about getting a job?

There is nothing wrong with studying a subject for the pure love of. It perhaps what is needed is academia to be totally honest and up front and say yes study archaeology enjoy it but understand that only the persistent few will ever work in the field.

Do people study for the sake of studying any more or is it all driven by economics ?
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#14
Sadly, I would argue that today, studying for a degree is largely a matter of economics and prospects for the future rather than the love of study itself.
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#15
Its an interesting point... and indeed I would rather see the german idea (for want of a better idea) where study is study, vocation is vocation and apprenticeship is of equal standing for manual work. A baker, a cleaner a mechanic is able to study and prepare for work, just as artists, poets archaeologists (well there is the middle ground!)

A degree is pure study, and perhaps should stay as that.. where the idea is to be outside the reality of life and to allow ideas the space to evolve.. often daft but often as not... brilliant! Work on the other hand is something you do.. with you hands and with a financial reward - perhaps that can be separated from university. ? I would believe that many universities say its is not there job to create workers but thinkers...
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#16
the German idea of qualifications and the routes to them has much to recommend itself, What is wrong with the "Grabungstechniker" route, why does Britain have an obsession with degrees and producing "so-called" fully rounded archaeologists at the end of their courses? The Bournemouth HND produced many fine, exceptional and country-wide recognised excavation specialists. We have an unhealthy obsession with degrees and an unreasonable expectation and unsustainable belief on what these three or four year courses can deliver and upon what these individuals who undertake these courses are expected to produce upon graduation.

Am I alone in this belief!?!
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#17
No you are not alone Oz...but since the commencement of student loans instead of grants there is now an economic factor to further education (and this applies to all further education not just degrees as it shouldn't be forgotten that many folk studying for professional or vocational qualifications are also subject to this invidious system).. There are early signs that the LibCONS are softening us up for all student loans to be repaid irrespective of salary levels. Imagine what difference that will make to already low archaeological wage levels....
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#18
kevin wooldridge Wrote:No you are not alone Oz...but since the commencement of student loans instead of grants there is now an economic factor to further education (and this applies to all further education not just degrees as it shouldn't be forgotten that many folk studying for professional or vocational qualifications are also subject to this invidious system).. There are early signs that the LibCONS are softening us up for all student loans to be repaid irrespective of salary levels. Imagine what difference that will make to already low archaeological wage levels....

Kevin, that is one of my great fears, only those who can repay student loans will be eligible for them, the disenfranchisement of the working class from higher education is something we have to fight against.
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#19
kevin wooldridge Wrote:No you are not alone Oz...but since the commencement of student loans instead of grants there is now an economic factor to further education (and this applies to all further education not just degrees as it shouldn't be forgotten that many folk studying for professional or vocational qualifications are also subject to this invidious system).. There are early signs that the LibCONS are softening us up for all student loans to be repaid irrespective of salary levels. Imagine what difference that will make to already low archaeological wage levels....

Do not forget that there is a delicate balancing act to be managed by Government here (I prefer the term CONDEMs myself) and they are doing it rather well.

By offering student loans (pay it back) as opposed to grants (keep it) a large number of those who would otherwise be bolstering the unemployment figures are disguised for up to three years and are also paying for the priviledge. In effect you are still potentially unemployed, but also in the red for a considerable amount of time in your early working career when you finally get offered a place on a "Government Initiative" as opposed to your career Nirvana for which you studied. And after three years potentially you will be another Goverment's problem anyway...
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Merlot in one hand, Cigar in the other; body thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!
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#20
The problem with the idea of fewer graduates is that it would require a complete rethink of how higher education is currently financed. Since HE is now operating under a fully free market system more students = more money for departments.
Post-graduate courses in particular are the money making machine for departments, especially because foreign, non-EU students, who already pay ?10k or more per year in fees, come here to get one.
There are three principal sources of income for departments: fees, HEFCE contributions and research grant overheads (there is consultancy, too, but the income usually is negligible).
If you have fewer students you loose income from fees and your HEFCE grant will go down. Consequently, you have to recuce costs, which means staff cuts, library budget cuts etc.

There are plenty of people who study archaeology because they just have an interest. Both young people who just want any degree to then go on and take up a graduate post in a company, and people who have found their love for the subject at a later point in life and are happy to pay for the opportunity to learn about the past. You can't deny these people the opportunity to study it. More importantly, if departments wouldn't let these people in and would just concentrate on people who actually want to work in archaeology and who can reasonably be expected to find jobs in archaeology, you can be assured that out of the xisting departments, we'd very quickly find about less than ten left in the country. How many people would loose their jobs as a result of that?

I'm not saying that fewer 'bums on seats' and increased quality wouldn't be better. But, as long as HE is operating under the free market system, in which profit and not education/ research counts, this just isn't going to change.
Unless university education and research is once again seen as something to improve peoples lives, advance society and increase citizens knowledge, rather than as an adjunct to the 'knowledge economy', we're going to continue to have
too many grads, poor quality and a perpetual drive for efficiency.
What perplexes me about HE in the UK are the constant stereotypes and bickering against students and academics. There's hardly a week during which the press doesn't take a swipe against either students or lecturers.
Students are often described as lazy and just interested in drinking and partying, while academics are constantly described as sitting in the ivory tower and not being in touch with the 'real world' (whatever that is anyway).
People who say have either forgotten the all-nighters many students have to pull to get essays in while working now often also working part time to subsidize their meagre loans.
Academics in many cases work 60+ hours/ week, because if it isn't research, its teaching and marking, and if it isn't teaching its admin.
Yes, academia comes with many perks, but short working weeks isn't one of them.
Way to go Britain, you used to have a world class university system, marvel of the world, but its being f***** up because of stereotyping, bickering, and because it is run like a profit-making enterprise.

And, this extends to archaeolgoy all too often. Constantly these battles between commercial archaeologists versus academic archaeologists. Time to wake up, folks. We need each other, perhaps more than ever.
If one goes down, the other will go eventually go down with it, because what's at the heart of it is a disregard for archaeological heritage and history. With the spending cuts coming it will get bad, really, really bad - across the board.

As for the German system: I've worked with many brilliant Grabungstechniker, and its great to see that there is now even a university level dedicated course, too, as well as the further education route.
But, unfortunately, all too often Grabungstechniker are treated as second class archaeologists by those who have gone through the university system. This is a structural in as much as an ideological problem.
In the German employment situation - where much fo the archaeology is run by the federal states - you cannot rise above a certain level in public employment unless you have a university degree. Period.
Thus, Grabunsgtechniker are often stuck in a dead end of digging until their physical condition is such that they can't go on anymore.
They're also restricted in what they're allowed to do. They can run digs and do post-ex, but publish or do research? Oh no, Grabunsgtechniker (despite having excavated the same site or similar sites for several years day in and day out)
mustn't do research - not my words, but the general consensus amongst German archaeologists in charge.

The German system has some advantages, but degrees neverthless empower people - be craeful what you wish for.

*Sunday morning rant over*
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