Tory leadership hopeful Kemi Badenoch attacks ‘pointless degrees’

Rising star of contest to be next PM signals intention to clamp down on ‘low quality degrees’ and universities that ‘indoctrinate social attitudes’

七月 12, 2022

One of the leading contenders to replace Boris Johnson has promised to tackle “pointless” and “costly” degrees if she is chosen as the UK’s next prime minister, as Conservative leadership candidates began to set out their positions on English higher education.

In a Sun editorial, Kemi Badenoch, the former equalities minister, questioned why a degree was necessary for some professions, stating that she would “make it easier to move into areas such as nursing, social [care] and policing without a typical degree”.

“One of the things that makes it hard for some people to get a good job is they demand costly degrees you actually don’t need, forcing people into debt,” said Ms Badenoch, the Saffron Walden MP whose odds of succeeding Mr Johnson have shortened from as much as 100-1 to 10-1 over the past three days after positioning herself as an “anti-woke” candidate.

According to a Conservative Home poll of Tory party members, Ms Badenoch is the second most popular candidate vying to become prime minster, behind only Penny Mordaunt, the former armed forces minister. Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, is the bookie’s favourite among the 10 remaining Conservative hopefuls seeking to move into No 10, currently placed at 6-4.

In her Sun editorial published on 11 July, Ms Badenoch said she would “open more good jobs to talented people, help young people avoid crippling debt [from studying], and save money from this reform and across the board”.

She also signalled her intention to “reduce the subsidy for low quality degrees”, writing, “Why are we shovelling huge amounts of taxpayer money – currently up to £11 billion a year into student loans – that will never be paid back? That cannot be right.”

The former software engineer, who has a degree from the University of Sussex, also claimed that “some universities spend more time indoctrinating social attitudes instead of teaching lifelong skills or how to solve problems”.

Ms Badenoch has previously stated that she had been “appalled” by the treatment of Kathleen Stock, the philosophy professor who quit Sussex after facing a campaign of harassment, including masked protests on campus, over her views on transgender issues. Ms Badenoch, who has been outspoken on the need for single-sex toilets in public buildings, said in October that “nobody should face bullying or harassment in the workplace”.

Tom Tugendhat, the Tonbridge MP who is also a 10-1 shot, according to some markets, outlined a different vision for higher and further education in a speech on 12 July, stating that he would introduce a new Institute of Technology in every major town and city, the Financial Times reported.



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