Express & Star

Why universities are furious at Rishi Sunak's attack on 'worthless' degrees

It is a debate that will interest millions of students and their parents – are university degrees worth it?

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Vice chancellors across the country certainly think so. Many are furious at Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for turning it into a general election issue.

University of Wolverhampton vice chancellor Professor Ebrahim Adia is among them.

The university has a major presence in Wolverhampton, Telford, Walsall and Stafford. It is not, and never will be, an Oxford or Cambridge. But it has brought hundreds of thousands of young people into further education, training them for worthwhile careers. A large proportion of those are local, the first generation to go to university. And that alone makes it worthwhile.

Wolverhampton The University of Wolverhampton has itself looked at courses that work and those that don't. In recent years it has attracted criticism for scrapping some arts courses as part of cuts. All universities will look at the veracity of the education they provide.

But Professor Adia is proud of the role it and other city universities in the UK play in enhancing the lives of many who would otherwise miss out.

Writing in today's Star, he says: "Our region is a true engine of social mobility and the statistics here at the University of Wolverhampton clearly demonstrate this.

"The university makes a disproportionate contribution to levelling up the West Midlands – 71 per cent of our students are the first in family to go to university and over three-quarters live within a 20-mile distance of our three campuses in Wolverhampton, Walsall and Telford.