The DUP’s Education spokesman, Sammy Wilson MP MLA, has said that the Government’s target of 50% of young people in higher education by 2010 is misguided and should be scrapped. Speaking from Westminster Mr Wilson said,
“To reach this target, the Government is pushing more young people into university, a growing number of whom do not have the academic competence necessary to complete their courses and therefore drop out from their courses.
I have obtained figures from the Department of Employment and Learning that show that over 4100 young people dropped out of university in Northern Ireland in the years 2000-2005 at a cost of almost £15 million pounds, with the number of those dropping out increasing nearly every year.
Not every young person is suited to a university education, and we need to get rid of this mindset that a university education is the only ‘good’ form of education. We need a well educated, talented and skilled workforce, but it is not necessary for everyone to have a degree. It is time for the Labour government to draw back from this ridiculous, expensive and ill thought out target.”